Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) re-attempted the launch of the second lunar mission a week after it aborted the scheduled blast-off due to a technical snag. The space agency successfully put Chandrayaan-2 into earth orbit.
— ISRO (@isro) July 22, 2019
Chandrayaan-2 was launched at 2:43 pm (local time) on Monday. The Indian space agency hopes to successfully land a rover on the Moon’s south pole, at a cost of US$ 150 million (NR₹ 978 crore).
The countdown on 15th July was halted 56 minutes before take-off due to a technical snag in the launch vehicle. Unconfirmed reports in the Indian press reported a leak from the helium gas bottle in the cryogenic engine of the rocket.
What’s the mission about?
This is India’s second lunar mission, dubbed as Chandrayaan-2 and it would try to land near the unexplored south pole of the Moon. Mission technically focuses on searching for water and minerals and measuring moonquakes, among other things.
It would be launched by India’s most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III). It weighs 640 tonnes (almost 1.5 times the weight of a fully-loaded 747 jumbo jet) and at 44 metres (144ft) is as high as a 14-storey building.
The spacecraft weighs 2.379kg and has three distinct parts: an orbiter, a lander and a rover.
The orbiter, which has a mission life of a year, will take images of the lunar surface, and “sniff” the tenuous atmosphere.
The lander, named Vikram weighs about half as much, and carries within its belly a 27kg Moon rover with instruments to analyse the lunar soil.
In its 14-day life, the rover called Pragyan will travel up to a half a kilometre from the lander and will send data and images back to Earth for analysis.
Chandrayaan-2 should be reaching the moon 48 days after launch from today which is the 7th-8th September. It would take advantage of the Earth’s gravity, which will help slingshot the satellite towards the Moon.
Close to 1000 engineers are working on the mission, and for the first time two women are leading the mission.
The success of Chandrayaan 2 mission will make India the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to pull off a soft landing on the moon.
Congratulatory messages poured in soon after the launch:
#Chandrayaan2 will be the first spacecraft to land close to the moon’s South Pole in some 50 days from now. The mission is expected to lead to new discoveries and enrich our knowledge systems. I wish the Chandrayaan-2 team every success #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) July 22, 2019
Special moments that will be etched in the annals of our glorious history!
The launch of #Chandrayaan2 illustrates the prowess of our scientists and the determination of 130 crore Indians to scale new frontiers of science.
Every Indian is immensely proud today! pic.twitter.com/v1ETFneij0
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 22, 2019
Isro chief K Sivan thanked the scientists who worked relentlessly over the past week to remove the technical glitch that had stopped the initial launch on July 15. “After a major technical snag in the launch vehicle earlier, Isro has come out with flying colours,” Sivan said.
Live updates end.
2:59 : Chandrayaan 2 successfully injected into Earth Orbit. It would now take 48 days for Chandrayaan 2′ historical journey to the moon.
2:43 : GSLV Mk-III -M1 successfully lifts off from Sriharikota.
2:24 : Mission Director Authorises Launch
01:38 : Filling of Liquid Hydrogen in Cryogenic Stage(C25) of GSLV Mk-III -M1 completed.
12:43 : 2 hours before blast off.
12:42 : Filling of Liquid Oxygen in Cryogenic Stage(C25) of GSLV Mk-III -M1 completed.
11:51 : Filling of Liquid Hydrogen for the Cryogenic Stage(C25) of GSLV Mk-III-M1 commenced.
9:58 : Filling of Liquid Oxygen for the Cryogenic Stage(C25) of GSLV Mk III-M1 commenced.