ISRO begins Chandrayaan-2 tests at Karnataka facility

Bengaluru,Nov12:ISRO has been testing its moon lander at its Challakere facility in Karnataka.

Tests are being carried out on an artificially created moon surface, complete with craters and uneven terrain. Isro chairman A S Kiran Kumar, who was at an award function at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in the city on Friday morning, said that tests were crucial for the study of the impact on instruments that are going to piggyback on the lander.

 Kumar said that a set of engines or thrusters on the lander would work against lunar gravity. “The functionality of crucial scientific instruments on board will be conducted after the landing, he said.

An aircraft carrying some of the instruments is being flown over this simulated area.”

 He also said that after Pakistan’s exit from the SAARC satellite project, it has been renamed South Asia Satellite, which will be launched in March next year.

Kumar was at the PRL to attend ‘Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr Vikram Sarabhai Research Awards-2015’ and ‘PRL Award-2015’.

As for civil applications of space technologies, Kumar said that monitoring of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA) project works is being made possible with space applications. “Onsite pictures of the project are taken and are coupled with satellite information like the amount of construction and resources inputs,” he said.

“This provides real-time monitoring of MGNREGA projects.”

Kumar also pointed out that satellite data is being used to provide information on the potential of inland fisheries for tribal populations.

The inland fisheries project is being undertaken as part of alternative livelihoods,” he said. Kumar said that over the past few years Isro had entered into 39 active collaborations with space agencies in the country. “The latest Isro ScatSat and NISAR are the results of such collaborations,” he said.

“We also have collaborative research data sharing agreements with the European space agency.”

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