“We Are Proud Of You, ISRO,” Echo Indians After Vikram Lander Faces Last-Minute Snag

India’s second tryst with the moon began on July 22 in the form of ISRO’s lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 (which translates to “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit). The spacecraft was successfully launched into Earth’s orbit and its destination was the Moon’s South Pole.

According to Business Standard, it carried the moon lander ‘Vikram’ and a robotic rover named ‘Pragyan’ which would probe the craters on the far side of the moon that remain untouched by sunlight.

The soft landing of Vikram was planned between 1:30 am to 2:30 am on September 7. As per The Economic Times reports, the four-phase descent included a 15-minute period of autonomous landing where ISRO scientists could not control it or send it any commands. Chairman K Sivan announced that the “15 minutes of terror” were overcome and the rough braking phase completed.

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However, at an altitude of 2.1 km, the communication link with the lander was lost. It could not bring down its speed from 6,048 km per hour to 7 km per hour, reports The Indian Express.

Subsequently, the ISRO Chief broke down and was comforted by PM Narendra Modi.

The Prime Minister said, “We are full of confidence that when it comes to our space program, the best is yet to come, there are new frontiers to discover and new places to go to, we will rise to the occasion and scale newer heights of success.”

People echoed the same sentiments saying that the real success was in making a satellite at home, of travelling 3,84,400 km in space and inspiring young minds to dream even bigger.

News18 quoted an ISRO official saying,

“Only 5 per cent of the mission has been lost — Vikram, the lander, and Pragyan, the rover. The remaining 95 per cent, that is the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, is orbiting the moon successfully.”

We look forward to the images that the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter will send back home during its mission life of one year (including those of the lander and its fate).

To infinity and beyond!