Monday, 06 April, 2020


India loses communication with its unmanned moon lander

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Bennie Garza | 07 September, 2019, 08:11

Scientists say, the Lander is equipped with five thrusters to slow it down during its downward movement towards the moon surface and balance the Lander in such a way that it touches down properly without rattling the dusty ground.

Space scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation spent almost six hours analyzing various data and telemetry they received before communication with the spacecraft was lost at an altitude of roughly 2 kilometers above the moon's surface.

Isro chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan announced to staff that the ship's initial descent had been "normal", and that the mission's data would be analysed.

India lost contact with its unmanned Vikram probe during the final moments of its audacious attempt to land on the moon on Friday.

If the lander had pulled off the historic touchdown, the country could have joined the US, Russia and China in soft landing on the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan-2 is a three-part mission which consisted of an orbiter, lander and rover.

Pragyan's mission will begin anytime between 5:30 am and 6:30 am.

Scientists were hoping to land the robotic spacecraft between two craters about 375 miles from the moon's unexplored south pole.

The 1,471-kg lander of Chandrayaan-2 - first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology - is named Vikram after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme.

During a live videocast of that mission, control staff could be heard saying that engines meant to slow the craft's descent and allow a soft landing had failed and contact with it had been lost.

Data comparing the planned trajectory of the Vikram lander with telemetry from the spacecraft.

The mission, which comes amid a renewed global interest in moon exploration, was watched closely by scientists around. The spacecraft, which arrived in lunar orbit one month later, consists of the orbiter vehicle, the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover.

India's Chandrayaan-2 is just hours away from attempting a landing on the lunar surface, a high-risk procedure that is expected to take place between 1.30 am to 2.30 am tonight.

"We have the same wishes for Vikram, Orbiter", ISRO adds to this imagined conversation.

India's achievements in space have been hailed by Modi as a symbol of the country's rising ambition as a global power. Updates on the Chandrayaan-2 landing are coming in from the Indian Space Research Organisation's headquarters in Bengaluru.

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