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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Not given up yet, will try to contact Vikram lander for 14 days: Isro chief

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 the final stage of descent.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2019 22:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K. Sivan
Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K. Sivan(ANI file photo)

Suggesting that all hope was not lost as far as re-establishing communication with Chandryaan 2’s lander was concerned, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chief K Sivan told the national broadcaster that scientists will continue to link with Vikram which had life of one lunar day or 14 earth days.

“We will be trying to establish a link, we will try for the next 14 days,” said Sivan when asked if there was any chance of reconnecting.

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 the final stage of descent.

“Powered descent included four stages, the first three phases were executed nicely but the last one was not executed in a nice way and we lost the link with the lander,” said Sivan in his first TV interview after the mission.

WATCH NOW| Chandrayaan 2: Achieved 90-95% objectives, says ISRO chief K Sivan

In another important announcement, Sivan made it clear that the setback won’t affect India’s space programme including its first manned mission, Gaganyaan, planned for the end of 2022.

“Whatever happened today is not going to affect any of the Isro’s activity. We are extremely busy with Gaganyaan project, which is due by the end of 2020,” Sivan told Doordarshan.

Sivan explained that Chandrayaan 2 was “almost 100 per cent successful” as the orbiter tasked to carry out the scientific experiments was placed successfully, while the lander and the rover component of mission, aimed to demonstrate technology, was 90-95 per cent successful.

“Regarding the technology demonstration part, we could descend up to two kilometers… 90-95 per cent of technology aspect was also achieved,” he said adding, “Chandrayaan mission was very close to 100 per cent success”.

Isro chairman was particularly excited about the possibility of finding water or ice during the several new experiments to be carried out by the Chandrayaan orbiter, armed with special SAR L-band camera, capable of penetrating the surface of moon up to 10 metres. All previous missions including Chandrayaan 1 had only SAR S-band camera, Chandrayaan 2 has both.

“SAR imaging data will be available for the first time for the entire world to see,” said Sivan.

The orbiter, he added will be able to cover the entire globe of the moon as it had enough fuel to power it for the next seven and a half years as opposed to its designated life time of one year.

He said the mood among the scientist of India’s premier space agency was upbeat and the Prime Minister’s encouragement played a big part in lifting of the morale.

“Prime Minister is source of support and motivation for all of us,” said Sivan before quoting from PM Modi’s speech this morning to suggest that science was not just for results but also for experiments.

In a statement released earlier on Saturday evening, Isro had described Chandrayaan-2 as a highly-complex mission that represented a “significant technological leap”.

“This was a unique mission 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,” the statement said.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged and consoled a teary eyed Sivan outside the mission operations complex after his address to the scientists and the nation. The PM too appeared emotional.

“We are proud of our space program. Today our resolve to touch the moon has grown even stronger. We came very close but we need to cover more ground in the time to come. We are full of confidence that when it comes to our space mission programme the best one is yet to come. There are several places to discover and go,” said the Prime Minister.

First Published: Sep 07, 2019 20:42 IST