Chandrayaan-2 Moon Landing

James Marshall
September 7, 2019

India is ready for a historic moon landing: Vikram, the Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander that was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is expected to touchdown on the moon's south pole today.

A visibly tensed K Sivan, ISRO chairman, was seen briefing the nation about the lost communication episode.

The whole nation, including President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has reacted to the development, saying they stand with ISRO and asserting that success would be achieved eventually.

The spacecraft also carries an orbiter, lander and a rover, all nearly entirely designed and made in India.

He adds that it would also pave the way for future Indian missions to land on Mars, and open up the possibility of India sending astronauts into space.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in the gallery to observe the landing, left the ISTRAC before the official announcement of the lander's status.

Chandrayaan-2, which translates as "moon vehicle" in Sanskrit, took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on July 22, a week after its first launch was called off due to a "technical snag".

Only the United States, Russia and China have landed on the moon.

India, he added, is proud of its scientists.

"We remain hopeful and will continue working hard on our space [program]", Modi said. According to data shown during the descent maneuver, the lowest altitude reported back to Earth was 0.2 miles (0.33 kilometers) above the lunar surface. "These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be!"

After the hoped-for landing, Modi had been scheduled to give a national address praising India's space programme.

The lander (named Vikram, after the founder of Isro) carried within its belly a 27kg Moon rover with instruments to analyse the lunar soil.

The American Apollo 11 mission reached lunar orbit just 75 hours, 50 minutes after blast-off. Vikram houses the six-wheeled rover Pragyaan that will explore the lunar surface for around 14 Earth days.

Saturday's disappointing lunar mission comes a little more than a decade after India launched the Chandrayaan-1, a satellite that fired a projectile into the moon's South Pole in search of water. The solar-powered lander and the rover would have conducted the first on-the-ground study of a wide region that NASA is targeting for a crewed landing in 2024.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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