Countdown for Chandrayaan-2 mission begins at Sriharikota space centre

‘Stronger than ever’: India set to launch rescheduled Moon mission

‘Stronger than ever’: India set to launch rescheduled Moon mission

Mumbai: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully completed the launch rehearsal of the Chandrayaan-2 mission on Saturday. It can transfer data to Earth through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander, which will fly on the same launch day. The snags found in the cryogenic upper stage of the rocket just before an hour of the previously scheduled launch on the 15th of this month have been plugged, boosting the confidence of the scientists to have the mission during the prevailing launch window itself. Unable to immediately ascertain the reason, and unwilling to take chances with the prestigious mission, they chose to abort the launch.

An expert committee was constituted to assess the problem and recommend corrective measures. There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it, the agency said, adding craters in the South Pole region have cold traps and contain fossil record of the early solar system.

President Ram Nath Kovind was present here on July 15 to witness the launch.

The countdown on 15 July was stopped 56 minutes before launch after a "technical snag was observed in [the] launch vehicle system", according to Isro. The vehicle is in good health.

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On the eve of launch, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said all preparations were on and the glitch had been rectified. The landing has been planned for 6th of September 2019, or the next day, which is nearly a month after the spacecraft nears the Moon and starts orbiting it.

After incrementally raising its orbit during this period, the spacecraft would embark on its journey towards the Moon, which will take seven days. For the next 13 days, it would remain in lunar orbit, going around the Moon in an orbit of 100 km. Earlier, it was supposed to spend 28 days in lunar orbit. Rather, Chandrayaan-2 is carrying three lunar exploration robots that will be able to survey the moon from both the surface and the sky. Sivan confirmed to The Hindu that the landing will be attempted on September 7. If it can achieve the hard feat of landing on the surface, India will become just the fourth nation to complete a soft landing in history, following the US, Russia and China, which has the Chang'e 4 rover operating on the far side of the moon. The Chandrayaan-2 mission, aiming to put robots at the lunar south pole for the first time, has suffered several delays leading up to lift-off.

The orbiter is planned to circle the Moon for about one year, imaging the surface and studying the atmosphere. Predominantly, these instruments should enable a greater understanding of the moon's water ice deposits.

If successful, India would join the U.S., China and the former Soviet Union as the only countries to perform a soft landing on the moon's surface.

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