World Awaits Chandrayaan-2

  • 05-Sep-2019
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Vikram On Historic Lunar Landing

New Delhi: Will the tricoloured wheels of rover Pragyan touchdown on the bumpy lunar surface ?

The entire world awaits the data from Chandrayaan-2, said K.Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. Our mission will be giving inputs for future programmes of space agencies such as NASA, which have big plans ranging from sending probes to human habitation of the uncharted southern polar region, Dr. Sivan had said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be at the Mission Operations Complex at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Peenya around midnight to watch the event as it happens., amid hundreds of engineers operating the mission operations. As many as 74 high school students who cleared an online space quiz last month are special guests.

ISRO will telecast it live on Doordarshan, National Geographic will have a live show hosted by astronaut Jerry Linenger and an estimated 300-400 journalists from across India are expected to be covering it from ISTRAC.

Only the then USSR, the USA and China have landed a spacecraft on moon so far. A successful landing will be a fitting finale to the mission. The last 60-odd days have been a mix of anticipation and trepidation for the various ISRO teams that have been minutely handling every turn and [engine] `burn’ of Chandrayaan-2 since it took off the ground on July 22.

“Those 15 minutes of terror” is how Dr. Sivan has described the last moments before the lander descends on moon.

Vikram the lander is primed to touch down on the lunar surface roughly between 1.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m.

The path in space is always full of risks. Soft-landing missions of other agencies have had 37% success. Orbiter Chandrayaan-1 of 2008 failed a few months early. The Israeli robotic lander Beresheet crashed on moon on April 11. Chandrayaan-2 itself had a last-minute hiccup on the launch pad and took off a week late. Dr Sivan says all those lessons have been included in this mission. 

Although it took off on July 22 instead of July 15, it has been smooth sailing. The spacecraft has stuck precisely to the path and crossed each milestone as it should through the last 46 or 47 days.