NEW DELHI – India is studying the purchase of rocket engines from Russia to develop its space program.
The information was released on Monday by Deputy Minister Yuri Borisov, who leads the Russian side on the Russia-India Intergovernmental Commission for economic, trade, scientific and cultural cooperation.
“Indian officials have expressed their desire to import rocket engines from Russia for use in their space program,” Borisov said after meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, co-chair of the Indian Commission.
Borisov also commented that on Monday Russia congratulated India, which successfully launched its lunar mission Chandrayaan 2.
The Chandrayaan 2 mission has been postponed a few times, the last being on July 15, when just 56 minutes after takeoff, the mission was canceled due to a technical problem.
The Indian authorities have not officially revealed the nature of this problem, but speculation has been that there were problems with the GSLV Mk III rocket engine.
According to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Sunday (14), a “technical problem” prompted the cancellation.
The mission was scheduled to launch at 2:51 am local time (6:21 pm GMT) in Sriharikota off the coast of Bengal Bay.
The mission was intended to land on the south pole of the moon, a feat unheard of from Earth’s natural satellite.
“A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at 1 hour before launch. As a measure of abundant precaution, # Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later,” ISRA said from its official Twitter account.
A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at 1 hour before the launch. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later.
— ISRO (@isro) July 14, 2019
Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar exploration mission. The first was in 2008, when the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was sent to the moon.
Chandrayaan-1 carried a lunar orbiter and a lander, while the second mission is more advanced than the previous one.
The Chandrayaan-2 is equipped with an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The release was originally scheduled for April 2018, but has been delayed several times for undisclosed reasons.
The mission module is called Vikram, named after ISRO founder Vikram Sarabhai.
The mission also carries a small robot named Pragyan who will study the mineralogical and chemical composition of the lunar surface. Already the mothership will orbit the moon at a distance of about 100 km, taking pictures and sending them to Earth.
Russia has already supplied India with 12KRB oxygen-hydrogen engine acceleration units used for launching of India’s GSLV rockets.