NEW DELHI: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided to put off for time being its plans to use nuclear power to increase lifespan of India's second lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 as there has been delay in getting the required nuclear material from Russia.
The nuclear power is expected expected to increase the lifespan of the mission as life of Chandrayaan 1, launched in 2008, was cut short by two months due to technical problems. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has been also working to make the nuclear material for the mission.
"We had plans to give nuclear power to Chandrayaan 2 but now we have decided to put it off for time being as we don't want further delay in launch which is scheduled for 2017-18," said ISRO satellite centre director M Annadurai.
The second lunar mission was scheduled for launch in 2013 as joint operation between India and Russia. But after failure of Russia’s Phobos-Grunt, mission to probe Maritian moon, it decided to do an internal assessment of its programme.
India then decided to make Chandryaan 2 as a completely indigenous mission with all three components of the mission orbiter, lander and rover made in the country.
"Once we get the material we have to do necessary experiments which will further delay the mission. There has been some delay in getting material from Russia," he said.
ISRO is now looking forward to use the nuclear powered mission in future projects.
"We plan to take Chandrayaan 3 and 4 in near future and we may use nuclear power in those missions. By that time we will be completely ready with the materials and other things," he added.
India plans to have a high altitude polar landing of Chandrayaan 2 and it will have a capability to soft land and carry in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface. A new throttled engine is being developed that will reduce the thrust for landing on the surface of the moon.