Chennai: India’s second mission to Moon, Chandrayaan-2 onboard GSLVMkIII-M1 was called off due to a technical snag on Monday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. “A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at T-56 minute. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. A revised launch date will be announced later,” it tweeted.
The lift-off of the three-component spacecraft weighing 3,850 kg and comprising an orbiter, the lander and the rover was scheduled for 2.51 AM from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC).
However, the mission had to be aborted about an hour before the scheduled launch time due to a technical snag in the launch vehicle system. ISRO said the technical snag was observed 56 minutes before the scheduled time, forcing it to stop the countdown and then put the launch off.
It was not clear when the next launch would be. According to ISRO officials, it could take up to a few days to assess how serious the glitch was. They said the gravity of the problem could also rule out another attempt at the launch in the current window available only till July 16.
The glitch was found in the launch vehicle GSLV MKIII which is the strongest of orbits built by ISRO, and not in Chandrayaan-2 composite module.
Know More About Chandrayaan 2
Chandrayaan-2 carries a total of 14 payloads — 13 from India and one passive payload from NASA — with special focus on mapping craters in the polar region, besides checking for water again.
What Chandrayaan-2 mission aims to achieve, a touchdown near Moon’s south pole, has been managed by only one other mission, China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft.
In a first, the mission has been led by two women scientists. M Vanitha, an electronics systems engineer, has shouldered the responsibility as the Project Director. Reports say that Vanitha, who was responsible for data handling systems for India’s remote sensing satellites, was initially reluctant to accept the challenge.
The other woman scientist at the helm is Mission Director Ritu Karidhal. Karidhal was also the Deputy Operations Director for the Mars mission.