Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched its second lunar exploration Chandrayaan-2. The anxious moment came to an end as the launch took place at 2:43 pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Shriharikota.
Carrying a “billion dreams” in a giant leap for the country’s ambitious low-cost space program, the most complex and prestigious mission ever undertaken by the ISRO, if successful, will also make India the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to pull off a soft landing on the moon.
“We bounced back with flying colors after the earlier technical snag. Success is coming after a call-off,” said a beaming and visibly relieved ISRO Chairman K Sivan at the mission control room of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 100 km from Chennai, as scientists broke into cheers, shook hands and exchanged greetings.
The Rs 978-crore unmanned mission also brought woman power to the fore as it was helmed by two woman scientists of the ISRO–Ritu Karidhal and M Vanitha, the Mission and Project directors respectively.
Joined by President Ram Nath Kovind and leaders across the political spectrum, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists and said every Indian is immensely proud today.
“Chandrayaan-2 is unique because it will explore and perform studies on the South Pole region of lunar terrain which is not explored and sampled by any past mission. This mission will offer new knowledge about the moon,” Modi said.
According to the statement, Chandrayaan-2, a three-module spacecraft comprising orbiter, lander and rover, will be subjected to a series of orbit manoeuvres using its onboard propulsion system to take it to the vicinity of Moon over the next few weeks with the rover soft landing planned on September 7.’
The lander Vikram, named after father of Indian space research programme Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, carrying the rover Pragyan, will be landed in a high plain between two craters at a latitude of about 70 degrees south of the moon. Then the 27-kg Pragyan meaning wisdom in Sanskrit and a six-wheeled robotic vehicle, will set out on its job of collecting information on lunar surface. A safe site free of hazards for landing would be decided based on pictures sent back by the camera onboard the lander and after touchdown the rover will carry out experiments for 14 Earth days, equalling one Lunar Day.