BENGALURU: Chandrayaan-3 is now official. Indicating the urgency in implementing the project, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) has sought Rs 75 crore from the Centre specifically for the mission as an addition to its existing budget.
The TOI, which was the first to report that Isro is looking to launch another Moon landing mission as early as next November, has now been able to get a confirmation from the department of economic affairs that the space agency has, in fact, sought Rs 75 crore for Chandrayaan-3.
As per initial plans, Chandrayaan-3 will have a lander, a rover and a detachable propulsion module to carry fuel.
The money has been sought under the provisions of a supplementary budget for the present financial year. Of this, Rs 60 crore will be for “meeting expenditure towards machinery, equipment and other capital expenditure,” while the remaining Rs 15 crore is sought under revenue expenditure head.
The Rs 75 crore sought specifically for Chandrayaan-3 makes up for more than 11% of the Rs 666 crore the space agency has demanded over and above the funds granted as part of the original 2019-2020 budget.
Of the Rs 666 crore, Rs 8.6 crore has been asked for the proposed human spaceflight programme, to be implemented in 2022, nearly Rs 12 crore is for the development of small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV), while Rs 120 crore is for the development of the launchpad of SSLV.
The largest demand for additional capital funds has come from the UR Rao Satellite Centre — responsible for assembling and testing satellites — followed by Satish Dhawan Space Centre (the spaceport). They have together sought Rs 516 crore.
Isro has already set up multiple committees to work on Chandrayaan-3, which some insiders told TOI, should not be the agency’s immediate priority given that other big-ticket projects like Aditya (solar mission) and Gaganyaan (human spaceflight) are in the pipeline.
Aditya, which was earlier expected to be launched in the first quarter of the next calendar year, is now unlikely to meet the deadline. However, there is so far no direct link to Chandrayaan-3 and the delay in Aditya.
Isro had failed to soft-land Vikram, the lander on Chandrayaan-2 mission, on the lunar surface on September 7, 2019.
While Isro has largely remained mum on the reasons for Vikram’s hard-landing, a written reply in the Lok Sabha late last month said that the “reduction in velocity during the second phase of descent was more than the designated value.” This confirmed a September 8, 2019 report of TOI with the headline: “Extra brake thrust may have sent Vikram out of control in the home stretch.”
Quelle: THE TIMES OF INDIA