Will try to contact Vikram lander for 14 days, says Dr Sivan, calls PM a "source of inspiration"
Bengaluru, Sep 07: ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech after the setback in Chandrayaan-2 mission "gave us motivation". Dr Sivan called the Prime Minister as "a source of inspiration."
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.
"The last portion was not executed the right way, in that phase only we lost link with the Lander, and could not establish communication subsequently," Dr Sivan told DD News.
Modi delivered a message of optimism, solidarity and hope to scientists in an address, hours after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that it had lost communication with the lander.
"PM is a source of inspiration and support for us. His speech gave us motivation. In his speech, the special phrase that I noted was, 'Science should not be looked for results, but for experiments and experiments will lead to results'," Sivan said.
There have been disappointing moments in the past but they have not crushed our spirits, the Prime Minister said, adding that "the effort was worth it and so was the journey". He called ISRO an "encyclopedia of successes" and said a few moments of halt cannot push its flight "out of trajectory" and that no hindrance can stop India from realising its dreams and aspiration in the 21st century.
"Right now the communication is lost, we will try to establish a link for the next 14 days," Dr Sivan added.
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 were placed successfully, while the lander and the rover component of the mission, aimed to demonstrate the technology, was 90-95 per cent successful.
"Regarding the technology demonstration part, we could descend up to two kilometres... 90-95 per cent of technology aspect was also achieved," he said adding, "Chandrayaan mission was very close to 100 per cent success".
Words of praise and encouragement poured in for ISRO from leaders across the political spectrum as they asked it not to be disheartened following the Chandrayaan-2 setback, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing confidence that a "new dawn and better tomorrow" awaits the space organisation.
President Ram Nath Kovind said the country is proud of ISRO which, he added, has shown exemplary commitment and courage. While Modi, who had flown to Bengaluru to watch the planned touchdown of lander Vikram, addressed scientists for nearly 25 minutes as he sought to lift their morale with a message of optimism, solidarity and hope