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posted by martyb on Wednesday October 25 2017, @11:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the "A-Grand-Day-Out" dept.

India plans to put another orbiter around the Moon and land a rover for just $93 million (including launch costs):

In a large shed near the headquarters of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bangalore, a six-wheeled rover rumbles over dark grey rubble in a landscape designed to mimic the Moon's rocky surface. This test and others scheduled for the next few weeks are crucial steps in India's quest to launch a second mission to the Moon next March.

The country's much anticipated Chandrayaan-2 comes almost a decade after India began its first journey to the Moon, in 2008. "It is logically an extension of the Chandrayaan-1 mission," says Mylswamy Annadurai, director of the project at ISRO. The spacecraft comprises an orbiter that will travel around the Moon, a lander that will touch down in a as-yet undecided location near the Moon's south pole and a rover.

India's maiden Moon trip was a significant achievement for its space programme, but ended prematurely when ISRO lost contact with the orbiter ten months into the planned two-year mission. However, an instrument on a probe that reached the Moon's surface did gather enough data for scientists to confirm the presence of traces of water.

[...] ISRO plans to execute its mission on shoestring budget of just 6.03 billion rupees (US$93 million), including the cost of the rocket and launch. Chandrayaan-2 will be carried into space on one of the agency's three-stage rockets, a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II, taking off from a spaceport on the island of Sriharikota in the Bay of Bengal. "A nice part of the Indian space programme is that they manage to do things so cheaply," says ANU astrobiologist Charles Lineweaver. "If it succeeds, maybe everyone else will see that their mission didn't really need that extra bell or whistle."

The launch is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.

Chandrayaan program.

Previously: Moon Wetter Than Previously Thought


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by richtopia on Wednesday October 25 2017, @04:02PM (4 children)

    by richtopia (3160) on Wednesday October 25 2017, @04:02PM (#587428) Homepage Journal

    I really enjoy watching the Indian Space Research Organization's achievements. They accomplish so much with a much smaller budget than other agencies. I am skeptical at the quoted 93 million price for any agency, but that doesn't mean I'm not cheering them on.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday October 25 2017, @04:47PM (2 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday October 25 2017, @04:47PM (#587451)

      > I am skeptical at the quoted 93 million price

      [cue stereotypical Indian accent]
      Dear Rover, your bug is important to us. Our ISRO scientists are all busy right now, but someone will assist you shortly. Please stay on the line, your hold time is estimated at 1 hour, 42 minutes...

      Didn't they get to Mars on half that budget? It pays to send people abroad to get trained.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Wednesday October 25 2017, @04:57PM

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday October 25 2017, @04:57PM (#587455) Journal

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Orbiter_Mission [wikipedia.org]

        The total cost of the mission was approximately ₹450 Crore (US$73 million),[37][38] making it the least-expensive Mars mission to date.[39] The low cost of the mission was ascribed by K. Radhakrishnan, the chairman of ISRO, to various factors, including a "modular approach", few ground tests and long (18–20 hour) working days for scientists.[40] BBC's Jonathan Amos mentioned lower worker costs, home-grown technologies, simpler design, and a significantly less complicated payload than NASA's MAVEN.[25]

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      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday October 25 2017, @05:39PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday October 25 2017, @05:39PM (#587460) Journal

        Of course in this scenario it's the low-paid US call-center employee escalating a customer to the Indian scientists.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday October 25 2017, @07:58PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday October 25 2017, @07:58PM (#587523)

      What was the quoted price of the Tata (car-ish thing)? like $600? And some "laptop computers" under $100.

      I suspect creative accounting plays a little into the frugal budget appearance, and some serious de-featuring. The plans call for a Rover, but... let's see the telemetry back from that Rover before judging value.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26 2017, @09:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26 2017, @09:49AM (#587745)

    Now how are those toilets coming along?

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