Chandrayaan 2 mission was India’s a highly complex mission to the Moon’s South Pole. The mission of Chandrayaan 2 made headlines globally after the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lost communication with Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan 2 just moments before its scheduled soft landing on Saturday, 07/08/2019. The Lander Vikram lost communication with India around 2.1 km over the lunar surface and no one knows the whereabouts of the Lander, and the Rover, which was supposed to land on the Moon.
Since the launch of Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, 2019, not only India but the whole world watched its progress from one phase to the next with great expectations and excitement. This was a unique mission which aimed at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission. On Saturday, contact was lost with the Moon lander Vikram just before it was due to touch down near the lunar South Pole. A successful landing would have made India the fourth country — after the United States, Russia and China — to successfully land on the Moon.
15 minutes of terror: As the lander began the 15 minute autonomous descent, it overcame a major hurdle of what is called as the rough breaking phase to go down from a height of 30 kms to around 2.1 kms. Soon after, the lander lost contact with the ground station. Dr. Sivan had called it “15 minutes of terror” due to the uncertainty and the inability of the ground station to take control of the spacecraft during the descent.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said, The Orbiter has already been placed in its intended orbit around the Moon and shall enrich our understanding of the moon’s evolution and mapping of the minerals and water molecules in the Polar Regions, using its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments. The Orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera (0.3m) in any lunar mission so far and shall provide high resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community. The precise launch and mission management has ensured a long life of almost 7 years instead of the planned one year. The Vikram Lander followed the planned descent trajectory from its orbit of 35 km to just below 2 km above the surface. All the systems and sensors of the Lander functioned excellently until this point and proved many new technologies such as variable thrust propulsion technology used in the Lander. The success criteria was defined for each and every phase of the mission and till date 90 to 95% of the mission objectives have been accomplished and will continue contribute to Lunar science , notwithstanding the loss of communication with the Lander.
Writer and managing editor of NASA Spaceflight Chris G said “The orbiter is where 95 per cent of the experiments are. The orbiter is safely in lunar orbit and performing its mission. This is not a total failure. Not at all,” Chris G tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that every difficulty, every struggle, every obstacle teaches us something new. He said we will rise to the occasion and reach even newer heights of success. He was present at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru to witness the landing Chandrayaan 2, boosted the morale of the ISRO scientists.
“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.” NASA had tweeted.
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