Isro receives praise from Prez, Opposition leaders
Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) received praise and encouragement on Saturday from leaders across the political spectrum, who rallied behind the space agency after Chandrayaan 2, India’s second lunar mission, ran into a glitch when ground stations lost contact with the moon lander Vikram.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence that a “new dawn and brighter tomorrow” awaits Isro after the learning experience. “We will rise to the occasion and scale newer heights of success,” Modi, who flew to Bengaluru to watch the planned touchdown of Vikram on the moon.
“To our scientists I want to say -- India is with you! You are .exceptional professionals who have made an incredible contribution to national progress,” Modi added.
President Ram Nath Kovind said the country was proud of Isro, which, he added, had shown exemplary commitment and courage.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi asked the scientists not to be disheartened. Chandrayaan 2 has laid the foundation for achieving greater heights in space exploration, she said.
“We owe a great debt to Isro and the brilliant men and women who staff it,” she said. “Their hard work and dedication has earned India a place in the league of spacefaring nations and have inspired generations to reach for the stars.”
“No success is final and every obstacle is a stepping stone to future success,” Gandhi said in a statement.
Her son and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi praised Isro scientists for their “incredible work.” He tweeted: “Your passion & dedication is an inspiration to every Indian. Your work is not in vain. It has laid the foundation for many more path breaking & ambitious Indian space missions.”
Home minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah said Isro had made every Indian proud. Defence minister Rajnath Singh quoted a line of a Hindi poetry to state that “those who try never lose”.
In a gesture that in many ways defined the mood of the moment, Modi hugged an emotional K Sivan, the Isro chief, and was seen consoling him at their meeting on Saturday morning after it became clear that the mission had suffered a setback.
Isro’s plan to soft-land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent.
“We came very close but we need to cover more ground in the times to come. Learning from today will make us stronger and better. The nation is proud of our space programme and scientists. The best is yet to come in our space programme. There are new frontiers to discover and new places to go. India is with you,” Modi said.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar praised Isro’s work as inspiring. “Confident you will succeed,” he said.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal urged Isro scientists not to lose heart. “We are proud of our scientists. They have created history. No need to lose heart. Our scientists have done a great job. Jai Hind!” he said.