ISRO to Shock World with Split Launch of Chandrayaan-4, Orbit Assembly Plan Unveiled by Chief Somanath

During an event in New Delhi, ISRO Chief S Somanath announced that Chandrayaan-4 will be launched as separate modules using multiple launches and then assembled in spaceread more

India’s space agency, ISRO, is getting ready for its ambitious Chandrayaan-4 mission, which aims to bring back samples from the Moon. This mission presents unique challenges as it will involve the most powerful rocket system ever used by India.

Adding to the complexity, Chandrayaan-4 will require multiple launches to assemble the modules in space before heading to the Moon, as reported by The Indian Express.

Breaking new ground
Unlike previous missions, Chandrayaan-4 will be launched in parts and assembled in space before being sent to the Moon, revealed ISRO Chairman S. Somanath. This approach is necessary due to the spacecraft’s size exceeding the capabilities of ISRO’s existing rockets.

While assembling spacecraft parts in space is not new (as seen with the International Space Station), this method for a lunar mission is groundbreaking and could set a new standard in space exploration.

Somanath explained that Chandrayaan-4’s design requires multiple launches due to current rocket limitations. New docking capabilities are being developed to allow the spacecraft parts to join in Earth and Moon orbits. These capabilities will be tested in the upcoming Spadex mission later this year.

Docking in space: A new approach
While docking in lunar missions is common, assembling modules in Earth orbit for a lunar journey is a novel concept. ISRO acknowledges that they may not be the first to attempt this, but it represents an unprecedented move in space exploration.

The upcoming Spadex mission will demonstrate in-space docking for ISRO. The agency has completed a detailed study and internal review for Chandrayaan-4, with the cost estimate soon to be submitted for government approval. This mission aligns with ISRO’s Vision 2047, which includes plans for a space station by 2035 and human missions to the Moon by 2040.

The future of space exploration
India’s future space station, Bharatiya Antariksh Station (BAS), will also be assembled in space through multiple launches. The first segment is set to be launched by 2028, with additional modules planned for the station’s configuration.

ISRO is preparing for larger and more complex missions with the development of the Next Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) and a new launch complex to accommodate it. These initiatives showcase ISRO’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of space exploration and establishing India as a key player on the global stage.

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