New Delhi: After one abortive attempt, India’s indigenous moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 2.43 PM on Monday. This mission will make India the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to carry out a soft landing on Moon.
The spacecraft took off exactly a week after the mission had to be aborted after a last-minute technical. In the run-up to the launch, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Sivan had said that the Chandrayaan-2 will perform 15 manoeuvres in all. Sivan said that the spacecraft would be making a soft landing on the moon, “it will land on the South Pole. There is a lot of scientific testing to be done regarding the mission. Scientists around the world are looking forward to the launch.”
ISRO had completed the launch research on Saturday. Chandrayaan-2 will explore a region of Moon where no mission has ever set foot. The spacecraft consists of an Orbiter, a Lander, and a Rover together referred to as “composite body”.
The probe’s total mass is 3.8 ton and is expected to land on the Moon’s south polar region on September 6 or 7 this year. It will be the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface.
The next date to watch out for is September 7 when the aircraft makes a soft landing on the moon. The Orbiter module will go around the moon for the next year in an orbit 100 km from the moon’s surface.
During this time, the various instruments on board will study the moon’s surface, its atmosphere, prepare three-dimensional maps, and also search for further evidence of water.
India’s first Moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, scripted history by making more than 3,400 orbits around the moon and was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009. At that time, it was supposed to be a joint India-Russia mission but was halted owing to the design flaws detected in the Russian Lander and Rover.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded and called the launch the “prowess of our scientists and the determination of 130 crore Indians to scale new frontiers of science”.
Congratulating ISRO for the successful launch, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Team ISRO scripted a new chapter in India’s space history with the launch of this ambitious & indigenous Mission to Moon.”
Reacting to the launch, India cricket team captain Virat Kohli tweeted, “Another historic and proud moment for the nation as the Chandrayaan-2 is launched. Jai Hind!”