How mood changed at Isro, from furrowed brows to wide smiles
ISRO chief K Sivan, flanked by top officials, sat with eyes glued to the screen, not a hint of emotion. The much-awaited and prestigious moon mission had just taken off, with millions watching the world over.
With the announcement of the success of each stage, Sivan reacted with a tentative smile or restrained clapping but the crease in his brow wouldn’t go. This was the space agency’s second attempt at launch, the first one on July 15 had to be aborted due to a last-minute glitch.
Sixteen minutes into the flight, an official announced that GSLVMkIII-M1 had successfully injected #Chandrayaan2 spacecraft into earth orbit. A visibly relieved Sivan broke into an exultant smile, stood up and started congratulating his team for what he later described as ‘bouncing back’.
The Rs 375 crore, heavy lift rocket had slung the Rs 603 crore, 3.8 tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft in its intended earth parking orbit. A crucial stage of the mission had been crossed.
The mood in the hall, so far taut with expectation, suddenly changed. It echoed with claps and top experts went round the room congratulating each other.
Soon, laudatory messages started pouring in from all quarters. ‘Indian at heart, Indian in spirit!’, tweeted PM Modi. President Kovind, ministers, cricketers, filmstars and other celebrities tweeted in adulation.
From here, it will be a long, over one-and-a-half-month journey for Chandrayaan-2 as it will traverse the 384,400 km that separate Earth and its sole satellite.
The launch of India’s moon mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh at 2.43 pm was the second attempt after the first bid on July 15 had to be aborted with an hour to go before the launch due to a technical glitch.
“It is the beginning of a historic journey of India towards moon and to land at a place near South Pole to carry out scientific experiments,” said Sivan.
Billed as the most complex and prestigious mission undertaken by ISRO since its inception, Chandrayaan-2 will make India the fourth country to soft land a rover on the lunar surface after Russia, the United States and China.