The moon lander Vikram (in the foreground) and orbiter (in the background), part of the Chandrayaan 2 mission, in a cleanroom at ISRO, Bengaluru. Image: Getty
Months after the Chandrayaan 2 Vikram moon lander failed to make its intended soft-landing, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has reportedly begun work on a second attempt, with India's third moon mission, Chandrayaan 3. Top officials at the agency have said that the mission is scheduled for launch as soon as 2021.
On 1 January 2020, the ISRO Chairman Sivan told media at a press conference that the government had approved a spacecraft and rover to land on the Moon's south pole latest by early 2021.
"We have started working on our third lunar mission to land an unmanned spacecraft near the Moon's south pole. The project work has gained momentum to launch the lander and rover by early 2021," Sivan said at a space event in Bengaluru.
India's first attempt to soft-land at a chosen spot in the lunar South Pole failed on 7 September 2019, when the Vikram lander (and the rover inside it) crash-landed due to a velocity glitch. That said, the mission will feature a lander and rover, but not an orbiter.
ISRO will use the fully-functional orbiter successfully placed in lunar orbiter via Chandrayaan 2 since August last year. The lander, rover and rocket will cost a total of Rs 610 crores, of which Rs 360 crore will go towards the GSLV-MkIII launch vehicle.