With a unique mission powered by women, Chandrayaan 2 is all set to go!

With a unique mission powered by women, Chandrayaan 2 is all set to go!

Chandrayaan 2 will lift off on July 15, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan announced on Wednesday.

The space agency rounds up preparation to send its most complex mission to the moon!

Scheduled for launch at 2:51 AM from the spaceport at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, India’s sophomore lunar exploration mission comprises a lander, rover, and satellite, built indigenously under ISRO’s supervision.

With Chandrayaan 2, India will try to go where Israel couldn’t—executing a perfect touchdown.

It will also attempt to enter uncharted territory by landing on the south pole of the moon—a feat never tried before.

A touchdown will make India the fourth country to pull off a moon landing, after the US, Russia, and China.

But nobody has attempted a landing on the south pole before. The ISRO chief said the landing site, about 70 degrees south latitude, is the southernmost for any mission till date.

After taking India to space during Mangalyaan in 2013 and the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) in 2014, the women scientists of ISRO continue to make a splash, breaking gender stereotypes and the glass ceiling in STEM.

Having played a key role in curating and spearheading Chandrayaan 2, project director M Vanitha and mission director Ritu Karidhal will be steering the mission.

Karidhal, an aerospace engineer, is known as the ‘Rocket Woman of India’ and was the deputy operations director during MOM.

She received the ISRO Young Scientist Award in 2007 from APJ Abdul Kalam.

Meanwhile, Vanitha, a design engineer, is the first woman to hold the position of project director.

She received the Best Woman Scientist award in 2006 from the Astronomical Society of India.

Even as Sivan seemed proud to announce these roles, the reality projects a gross imbalance in workforce ratio by gender.

As per its 2018-2019 annual report, women constituted 20% of the total workforce of ISRO. In the scientists and technical category, women constitute an even lower 12%.

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