In its second attempt to soft-land on the moon, India began working on its third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3 which is scheduled for launch in early 2021, a top space official said on Wednesday.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh had earlier apprised that India will launch Chandrayaan-3 in 2020, asserting that the mission cost will be less than Chandrayaan-2. Singh, who is the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said it is wrong to term Chandrayaan-2 as a disappointment since it was India's maiden attempt to land on the lunar surface and no country could do so in its first attempt.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan at a space event said that the work on the third lunar mission to land an unmanned spacecraft near the moon's south pole has started and further stated that the project work has gained momentum to launch the lander and rover by early 2021.
Further reiterating Jitendra Singh's statement, Sivan said that as Chandrayaan-3 will have only a lander and rover, the lunar spacecraft will cost Rs 610 crore, including Rs 360 crore for the launch rocket. The space agency spent Rs 960 crore on the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
At the inaugural session of the Symposium in Human Spaceflight and Exploration, ISRO Chief K Sivan spoke about the much-awaited and discussed space exploration mission Gaganyaan 2022 and said that this will work as an opportunity to build national and international collaborations between Indian and foreign space agencies.
This includes the corporation between ISRO and Russia's space agency Glavkosmos and America's NASA. Mission Gaganyaan 2022 aims to send Indian astronauts to space for up to 7 days.
"Mission Gaganyaan will provide us opportunities to build a framework for long-term national and international collaborations & cooperation. This mission is not just about sending a human to space," said ISRO Cheif K Sivan.