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Chandrayaan 2 New Launch Date May Not Come for Days, 10-Minute Takeoff Window Shrinks to Just 1

The process of emptying the fuel loaded in the GSLV Mk-3 rocket and inspecting the launcher for further investigation will take time.


Updated:July 15, 2019, 12:33 PM IST
Chandrayaan 2 New Launch Date May Not Come for Days, 10-Minute Takeoff Window Shrinks to Just 1
In this picture released by ISRO on July 11, 2019, the GSLV Mk 3 is seen at the second launch pad in Sriharikota. (ISRO/PTI Photo)

Sriharikota: The revised date for the launch of Chandrayaan 2 may not come for another 10 days as the process of emptying out the fuel and taking the GSLV Mk-3 for further investigation may take time.

The launch, which was scheduled for 2:51am on Tuesday, was called off abruptly with the countdown frozen at 56 minutes and 24 seconds to launch. In an official statement, ISRO said it encountered a technical snag in the launch vehicle system one hour before lift-off. The space agency said it would announce a new launch date later.

News agency IANS, however, quoted sources as saying that the process may take more than 10 days.

"The technical snag was noticed during the cryogenic fuel was being loaded. We have to approach the vehicle to assess the problem. First, we have to empty the fuel loaded in the rocket, then the rocket will be taken back for further investigation," the report quoted a source as saying. "This process will take 10 days after that only we can decide on the launch schedule."

At a press conference last month, ISRO chairman K Sivan had said that the scientists had a 10-minute window for the launch in the early hours of Tuesday, that is between 2:51am and 3:01am. While ISRO can reschedule the launch for any other date in July, the launch window would shrink to just one minute, given moon’s positioning vis-à-vis Earth.

Attention on the Chandrayaan 2 mission had increased as the launch was to be carried out just five days before the 50th anniversary of American Neil Armstrong's history-changing walk on the Moon.

India had spent about $140 million on preparations for Chandrayaan-2 and had hailed the mission as one of the cheapest ever. A landing on the Moon had been scheduled for September 6.

ISRO had prepared its most powerful rocket, the GSLV Mk III, to carry the 2.4-tonne orbiter. The orbiter was to keep circling the Moon for about one year taking pictures of the surface and sending back information on the atmosphere.

The orbiter was to carry the 1.4-tonne lander Vikram — which in turn was to take the 27-kilogramme (60-pound) rover Pragyan — to a high plain between two craters on the lunar South Pole.

The solar-powered rover can travel up to 500 metres (yards) and was expected to keep sending back images and data for one lunar day, the equivalent of 14 Earth days. Pragyan will be looking for signs of water and analyse lunar rocks and soil.

India's first lunar mission in 2008 — Chandrayaan-1 — did not land on the Moon, but carried out a search for water using radars.

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