'Be Courageous': PM Modi’s Pep Talk to Scientists After ISRO Loses Contact With Chandrayaan 2 Lander
ISRO lost contact with the Chandrayaan 2 lander, named Vikram, around 17 minutes after it began final descent towards the moon.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan after announcing that connection with the lander was lost during the soft landing of Vikram module of Chandrayaan 2 on lunar surface, in Bengaluru on September 7, 2019. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation to be courageous and lauded their efforts after the much-anticipated landing of the Chandrayaan 2 mission on the moon ran into tense moments.
ISRO lost contact with the spacecraft’s lander, named Vikram, around 17 minutes after it began final descent towards the moon. ISRO chief K Sivan said contact with the lander was lost at 2.1 km from the lunar surface, adding that the space agency was analyzing the data.
A tensed Sivan also briefed Modi at the command centre, following which the PM gave a pep talk to the scientists and members of the mission.
“There are ups and downs in life. This is not a small achievement. The nation in proud of you. Hope for the best. I congratulate you. You all have done a big service to nation, science and mankind. I am with you all the way, move forward bravely,” he said.
The PM followed the praise up with a tweet. “India is proud of our scientists! They’ve given their best and have always made India proud. These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be!” he said.
India is proud of our scientists! They’ve given their best and have always made India proud. These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be! Chairman @isro gave updates on Chandrayaan-2. We remain hopeful and will continue working hard on our space programme.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 6, 2019
As per a timeline released earlier by ISRO, the lander Vikram was to land at 1:53am and the rover Pragyan was scheduled to roll down a ramp at 5:19am. In an extraordinary moment, the rover was to click a photograph of the lander at 5:45am.
Chandrayaan 2 had lifted off from India's spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on July 22. The spacecraft used in the mission comprised an orbiter, a lander called Vikram and a rover called Pragyan almost entirely designed and made in India.
The orbiter has a mission life of a year and will take images of the lunar surface.
About $140 million was spent on preparations for the probe's mission -- a much smaller price tag compared to similar operations by other countries. It was launched on India's most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII, nicknamed by the media as Baahubali. The lift-off was successful in its second attempt, a week after it was aborted just under an hour from its launch due to a technical glitch.
Chandrayaan 1 orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water. ISRO chairman K Sivan has said that landing on the lunar surface involves a lot of technical complexities — an event he described as "15 terrifying minutes."
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