CHANDRAYAAN-2 orbiting the Moon has located its landing module Vikram on the lunar surface, a visibly relieved K. Sivan, the unassuming Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Sunday afternoon, ending the collective national and international anxiety that was dogging all about the whereabouts of the Lander that lost contact with ground when its was just 2.1 kilometers away from its landing site 2 days ago.
“Yes, we have located the Lander on the lunar surface. It must have been a hard-landing. Rover Pragyaan housed inside Lander Vikram was located by on-board cameras of the orbiter,” Sivan said adding details. To the question if Lander Vikram was damaged during hard-landing, “That we do not know”. However, the ISRO Mission Control was trying to re-establish contact with Vikram, Sivan said, raising hopes of revival of Mission Chandrayaan-2 in full measure. This simple announcement was not just a matter-of-factly statement and indicated a renewed optimism in the country’s space agency.
That vigour got further embellished with an offer from the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to work together with ISRO to explore the Solar System in the future. Even as global appreciation poured in, the ISRO’s scientists, this time led by two remarkable women M. Vanitha as Project Director, and Ritu Srivasatava as Mission Director, seem to have got back into mission mode to establish communication with Lander Vikram. After assertion from international space community that Chandrayaan-2’s mandated task has been achieved to the extent of 95%, the ISRO scientists are reported to have felt vindicated.
The announcement by K. Sivan about the location of Lander Vikram was described to have bolstered their confidence. The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is healthy and safe in the lunar orbit, and is communicating proper signals to the Earth Station, ISRO officials said on Sunday afternoon.
M. Vanitha, Project Director R Srivastava, Mission Director
You have inspired us, will explore solar system together: NASA to ISRO
National Aeronautics and Space Administration has lauded Chandrayaan-2, saying India’s Moon mission has “inspired” the US space agency which is keen to explore jointly the solar system with ISRO. “Space is hard. We commend ISRO’s attempt to land their Chandrayaan2 mission on the Moon’s South Pole. ... You have inspired us with your journey and look forward to future opportunities to explore our solar system together” the NASA said in a tweet.
ISRO’s efforts are “incredible. ... We congratulate ISRO ... The mission is a huge step forward and will continue to produce valuable data.. . We have no doubt that India will achieve its space aspirations,” Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells tweeted. Former NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger said, “We should not be too discouraged. India was trying to do something very, very difficult. In fact, everything was going as planned as the lander came down.”