India loses contact with spacecraft on mission to the moon

  • Sunday 08, September 2019 08:49 AM
  • India loses contact with spacecraft on mission to the moon
Sharjah24 – Reuters: The Indian space agency lost communication with its Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission during its descent to the moon's surface in the early hours of Saturday (September 7), the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation said, in a setback to the nation's ambitious plan to land an unmanned probe near the south pole of the moon.
"Data is being analysed," Chairman K Sivan told a room full of distraught scientists at the agency's tracking centre in India's southern city of Bengaluru (Bangalore).

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had flown in to witness the landmark event, comforted the scientists after many believed the mission was likely a failure.

The mission took off from the spaceport of Sriharikota on July 22. After revolving around the Earth's orbit for nearly 23 days, the craft began its journey to the moon on August 14. It entered the lunar orbit on August 20 after performing the precise Lunar Orbiter Insertion manoeuver.

Chandrayaan-2 was India's most ambitious mission yet to cement its position as a leading low-cost space power.

The 10-billion rupee ($146 million) mission, if successful, would have enabled India to carry out studies on the presence of water on the south pole of the moon.