THE Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is healthy and safe in the lunar orbit, an ISRO official said after the Vikram lander lost contact with ground stations minutes before the touchdown on Moon’s surface early on Saturday. “The orbiter is healthy, intact, functioning normally and safely in the Lunar orbit,” the official told PTI. The mission life of the 2,379-kg orbiter is one year. The orbiter payloads will conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100 km orbit.
Chandrayaan-2, a follow-on mission to the Chandrayaan-1 mission undertaken more than a decade ago, comprises an orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan). The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon. ISRO on September two successfully carried out the separation of lander Vikram (with rover Pragyan housed inside) from the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. In the early hours of Saturday, communication from ‘Vikram’ lander to ground stations was lost during its powered descent to the Lunar surface, and ISRO said data is being analysed.
“Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Reason behind communication breakdown still not known: Scientists: FORMER Space Scientist P C Ghosh and Scientist Amitabh Pandey asserted that the reason behind communication breakdown has not been discovered yet. However, partial success has been achieved as the orbiter is working perfectly fine in the space. “We are unaware of the fact that why the communication had broken down. The orbiter is working perfectly fine.
The objective will be achieved and probably the scientists will ask the Orbiter to capture a picture. The objective of achieving a soft landing has not been achieved. This is not big disappointment rather it is a partial success,” said Ghosh while speaking to ANI. Ghosh further appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts for supporting the scientists at ISRO, Bengaluru. “The Prime Minister was echoing the achievement of the ISRO. We are hoping that Chandrayaan-2 will overcome everything. The orbiter is still working fine and it can check the physicality over there,” he added.
‘Chandrayaan-2 will have no impact on future missions’
THE Chandrayaan-2 mission will “absolutely have no impact” on ISRO’s ambitious manned mission Gaganyaan, scheduled to be launched in 2022, according to an ISRO official. P G Diwakar, who was earlier scientific secretary at the space agency and is now the Director of Earth Observations Applications and Disaster Management Programme Office at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru, said both Chandrayaan and Gaganyaan have different objectives and dimensions. “There will be absolutely no problem at all. It will have no impact.
The satellite missions as well as the human space flight mission will go very smoothly without any problem. Each mission is of a different type,” he told PTI. Diwakar, however, declined to comment on the reasons behind the glitches faced during the landing of Chandrayaan-2. The lander Vikram lost contact, just 2.1 kilometers above the lunar surface. The ISRO plans to send three Indians to space by 2022, an announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last Independence Day speech. Besides this, the ISRO will also launch Aditya L-1, India’s first solar mission, by next year. There are plans to build a space station and launch interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus.
Diwakar said Chandrayaan had its own challenges while the other missions will have different objectives. While Chandrayaan-2 was meant for soft-landing of Vikram on the lunar surface, Gaganyaan’s mandate will be to send the astronauts to space and bring them back to earth safely.
World media lauds India’s engineering prowess
INDIA’S historic mission to soft-land a rover on the moon’s uncharted South Pole may have gone awry, but the landmark attempt highlighted its engineering prowess and growing ambitions to become a space superpower, the global media commented on Saturday. The New York Times, The Washington Post, The BBC and The Guardian, among many other leading foreign media outlets, all carried stories on Chandrayaan-2, India’s landmark moon mission. American magazine Wired said the Chandrayaan-2 programme was India’s “most ambitious” space mission yet. “The loss of the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover it was carrying to the lunar surface would be a big blow for India’s space program...But all is not lost for the mission,” it said.
The New York Times lauded India’s “engineering prowess and decades of space development”. “While India may not have stuck the landing on its first try, its attempt highlighted how its engineering prowess and decades of space development have combined with its global ambitions,” the report said. “The partial failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission — an orbiter remains in operation — would delay the country’s bid to join an elite club of nations that have landed in one piece on the moon’s surface,” it said. British newspaper The Guardian, in its article titled “India’s moon landing suffers last-minute communications loss”, quoted Mathieu Weiss, a representative in India for France’s space agency CNES, as saying: “India is going where probably the future settlements of humans will be in 20 years, in 50 years, 100 years”.
The Washington Post in its headline “India’s first attempt to land on the moon appears to have failed” said the mission had been a source of “immense national pride”. “Social media erupted in support of the space agency and its scientists despite the setback... The incident could now set back India’s growing space ambitions, seen as a reflection of the aspirations of its young population,” it said. “One of the successes of India’s space program has been its cost-effectiveness. Chandrayaan-2 cost USD 141 million, a small fraction of what the United States spent on its historic Apollo moon mission,” the report said. American network CNN described it “India’s historic landing on moon’s polar surface may have failed”.