Fifty years after Armstrong and Aldrin first landed on the moon [cnet.com], a historic new moon landing mission is readying for launch. After several delays [cnet.com], the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is set to launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission this Sunday with plans to become the first nation to land at the lunar south pole. It won't feature humans, but Chandrayaan-2 is carrying three lunar exploration robots able to survey the moon from both the surface and the sky.
The launch is currently scheduled for Sunday, July 14 at 2:21 p.m. PT [2121 UTC] and will take place at India's Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, north of Chennai. The payload of Chandrayaan-2 consists of a lunar orbiter, a lunar lander and a lunar rover, and will be launched atop the ISRO-developed GSLV Mk-III rocket. That rocket is about half as powerful as the SpaceX [cnet.com] Falcon 9 and will put Chandrayaan-2 into what is known as an "Earth parking orbit" before the module uses its own power to extend its orbit and eventually position itself for a lunar rendezvous.
[...]Provided Chandrayaan-2 launches on time, it is expected to reach the moon on Sept. 6, 2019. If it can achieve the difficult feat of landing on the surface, India will become just the fourth nation to complete a soft landing in history, following the US, Russia and China, which currently has the Chang'e 4 rover operating on the far side of the moon [cnet.com].
The lander and rover are headed for the lunar south pole, exploring a scientifically important region that has been shown to contain water ice. The lunar lander, known as "Vikram," and a rover, known as "Pragyan," will set up shop in the south, far further than any previous mission to the moon. The proposed landing spot is between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N.
The is a YouTube video of the prior and proposed moon landing sites. [youtube.com]