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Chandrayaan 2 UPDATE: It's difficult to establish link again, say ISRO scientists

By oneindia staff
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Bengaluru, Sep 08: India's bold bid to become only the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon ended in a huge disappointment on Saturday when contact with Chandrayaan-2's landing module was abruptly lost seconds before it was to descend the final 2.1 km and touch down on the lunar surface.

As crestfallen scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) struggled to come to terms with setback when 'Vikram' was on steady course to touch the lunar south pole, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in rallying behind them, saying they should not get disheartened.

Narendra Modi

ISRO is continuing its efforts to restore link with Chandrayaan-2's lander 'Vikram', but experts say time is running out and possibility of re-establishing communication looks "less and less probable."

[13 minutes later: When Vikram Lander lost signal]

Here are the Chandrayaan-2 Updates:

Newest First Oldest First
9:21 PM, 8 Sep
ISRO Chairman K Sivan siad that Chandrayaan-2's Vikram module has been located on the lunar surface and it must have been a hard-landing, in an admission that the planned soft-landing wasnt successful. "Yes, we have located the lander on the lunar surface. It must have been a hard-landing", he added.
3:47 AM, 8 Sep
India's bold bid to become only the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon ended in a huge disappointment on Saturday when contact with Chandrayaan-2's landing module was abruptly lost seconds before it was to descend the final 2.1 km and touch down on the lunar surface. As crestfallen scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) struggled to come to terms with the reverse after lander 'Vikram' was on steady course to touch the lunar south pole, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in rallying behind them, saying they should not get disheartened. India also would have been the only country to land on the Moon's unexplored south pole as part of the Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission conceived a decade ago. Modi, who addressed the scientists on Saturday morning at the ISRO Mission Control Centre (MCC) complex for the second time in six hours, asserted in words of comfort that there will be a "new dawn and brighter tomorrow" and the best is yet to come in the country's space programme. The nation is proud of the scientists and stands with them, he said. "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. The process of controlled descent starting with the rough braking of the 1,471-kg lander named after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, father of the Indian space programme, its progression to fine braking (till the altitude of 2.1 km), all considered "complex and terrifying," culminated with a statement that contact with 'Vikram' was lost. While millions of people waited with bated breath to witness the lander's touch down after the mission was launched on July 22 to flawlessly cover nearly 4 lakh kilometres in 47 days in multiple manoeuvres, a mood of gloom descended over the control centre after ISRO Chairman K Sivan made a sombre announcement in the presence of the prime minister after some tense moments. "Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, communication from the lander to ground stations was lost," said Sivan, his voice choking. "The data is being analysed", he said at the control centre at the ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here. The lander's progress was greeted with applause at the control centre, where 60 high school students from across the country were also present, each time it crossed a critical phase for the planned soft-landing at around 1.55 am. The last 15 minutes of the mission when the lander attempts to guide itself with the help of its own propulsion system without any support from ground control has repeatedly been described by Sivan as "15 minutes of terror". A senior ISRO official said the four-legged lander and the six-wheeled rover 'Pragyan' housed inside that was planned for a roll-out between 5.30 am and 6.30 am to carry out experiments may have been lost. If 'Vikram' had pulled off the historic touchdown, the country could have joined the US, Russia and China in soft-landing on the lunar surface. Though the intended mission met with a reverse, an ISRO official said the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is healthy and safe in the lunar orbit, in some relief to the space agency. "The orbiter is healthy, intact, functioning normally and safely in the lunar orbit," the official told PTI. The mission life of the 2,379-kg orbiter is one year and its payloads will conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100-km orbit. According to US space agency NASA's 'Moon Fact Sheet', the success rate of lunar missions undertaken in the last six decades is 60 per cent. Of the 109 lunar missions during the period, 61 were successful while 48 failed. Modi, arrived in Bengaluru on Friday night to watch the touch-down of 'Vikram'. The Prime Minister gave a morale boosting pep talk to scientists immediately after the setback. "I see disappointment on your faces. No need to get dejected. We have learnt a lot", Modi said. "These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be! We remain hopeful and will continue working hard on our space programme." Hours later, the prime minister again delivered a message of optimism, solidarity and hope to scientists in an address, which was broadcast live, after contact with the lander was lost. "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. The nation is proud of them and stands with them, he said and later gave a tight hug to an emotional Sivan, who was in tears, unable to come to terms over the unsuccessful bid. President Ramnath Kovind expressed confidence that the ISRO will one day overcome the setback. Chief ministers, including Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi) and Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala) and leaders of all political parties including Rahul Gandhi of the Congress and the film industry extended their solidarity to the scientists. Messages of encouragement for ISRO scientists flooded the micro-blogging site Twitter as well. G Madhavan Nair, a former ISRO chairman during whose tenure Chandrayaan-1 was launched a decade ago, said the mission has achieved 95 per cent of its objectives despite the lander not touching down. India's 2008 moon mission had discovered the presence of water molecules on the parched lunar surface. Former NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger said the lessons learnt from India's "bold attempt" to soft land the 'Vikram' module will help the country during its future missions. Chandrayaan-2, a follow-on mission, involved meticulous planning with the involvement of hundreds of top scientists. Approved in 2008, it is a Rs 978-crore initiative (satellite cost Rs 603 crore, GSLV MK III cost Rs 375 crore) and a successor to Chandrayaan-1 mission, it comprised an orbiter, lander and rover. The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the moon. ISRO had deferred the lunar mission's launch last year after a loss in communication with military satellite, GSAT 6A. India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1 successfully launched the 3,840-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into the Earth's orbit on July 22, a week after it was aborted at the last minute due to a technical glitch. The spacecraft began its journey towards the moon leaving the earth's orbit on August 14, and entered the lunar orbit on August 20. On September 2, 'Vikram' separated from the orbiter, following which two de-orbiting manoeuvres were performed to bring the lander closer to the moon.
3:34 AM, 8 Sep
Australian Space Agency says: The Vikram Lander was just a few kilometres short of realising its mission to the Moon. To the team at ISRO, we applaud your efforts and the commitment to continue our journey into space.
3:33 AM, 8 Sep
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency says: We assure our full support to ISRO following the loss of contact with their spacecraft, Chandrayaan-2 which had to land on the moon. India proved to be a strategic player in the space sector and a partner in its development and achievements.
3:32 AM, 8 Sep
Space is hard. We commend ISRO’s attempt to land their Chandrayaan-2 mission on the Moon’s South Pole. You have inspired us with your journey and we look forward to future opportunities to explore our solar system together, says NASA.
8:56 PM, 7 Sep
The designated life term of the Orbiter was only one year. But because we have extra fuel right now available in the Orbiter, so the Orbiter life is estimated as 7.5 years, says Dr Sivan.
8:55 PM, 7 Sep
ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan:
8:33 PM, 7 Sep
PM is a source of inspiration&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&experiments will lead to results.", says Dr Sivan.
8:32 PM, 7 Sep
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, ISRO chief K Sivan told DD News.
7:41 PM, 7 Sep
The success criteria was defined for each and every phase of the mission & till date 90 to 95% of the mission objectives have been accomplished and will continue contribute to Lunar science , notwithstanding the loss of communication with the Lander," ISRO says.
6:39 PM, 7 Sep
Our scientists in ISRO tried to achieve something great. They suffered a setback, I was there with them & they are optimistic about success in future, says PM.
6:00 PM, 7 Sep
At the launch of an indigenously-built metro coach in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked citizens to learn from the courage of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists, expressing confidence that the country's aim of reaching the moon will be accomplished despite the Chandrayaan-2 landing glitch. "In Bengaluru, I stayed overnight with my scientific colleagues at ISRO. I am very impressed to see the courage they have shown. How to achieve our goal with full tenacity is the biggest challenge, which one must learn from our scientists and engineers of the space agency, " said Modi, adding that ISRO scientists will not rest till the objective is met.
2:37 PM, 7 Sep
"We are proud of our scientists. The @isro team worked hard for #Chandrayaan2. A befitting tribute to our founding fathers who envisioned India's place in the league of scientifically advanced nations far ahead of their times," she tweeted.
2:37 PM, 7 Sep
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said the ISRO scientists worked hard for Chandrayaan-2 mission and the nation is with them.
2:34 PM, 7 Sep
"Hum honge kamayab, mann me hai vishwas, poora hai vishwas hum honge kamyaab ek din," this is how President Ram Nath Kovind summed up his thoughts on the Chandrayan-2 mission on Saturday.
1:46 PM, 7 Sep
"There is nothing to despair. ISRO only lost communication with the lander and not the hopes of 1.3 billion Indians," Vice President Naidu's secretariat tweeted.
1:46 PM, 7 Sep
There is nothing to despair, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said today as ISRO lost contact with its moon lander Vikram.
1:27 PM, 7 Sep
“We will realise our dream to reach the moon,” PM Modi told his audience at the metro project.
1:27 PM, 7 Sep
At the launch of indigenously-built metro coach in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked citizens to learn from the courage of ISRO scientists.
11:59 AM, 7 Sep
Inspiring work, says External affiars minister S Jaishankar
11:51 AM, 7 Sep
"Proud of each and everyone on the #ISRO team. Setbacks are a part of the journey; without them, there is no success. The whole nation stands with you and believes in you," tweets Priyanka Gandhi.
11:02 AM, 7 Sep
The Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter still remains in operation and will continue to study the moon. It can take pictures of the moon and send it to ISRO. The Orbiter has a 1,000 watt electric power generation capacity. It can take pictures of the moon over the next one year.
11:02 AM, 7 Sep
The Vikram Lander lost contact with the control room and this was heartbreaking for the entire nation. However, what must bear in mind is that this is a setback and not a failure.
10:37 AM, 7 Sep
Kamal Haasan says Chandrayaan 2 setback "does not tantamount to failure."
10:25 AM, 7 Sep
Uttar Pradesh Minister and BJP leader Mohsin Raza gets emotional while talking about Chandrayaan 2
10:11 AM, 7 Sep
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala hails ISRO's effort
9:46 AM, 7 Sep
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hails the courage of ISRO scientists and said that ISRO's mission to reach moon is bound to succeed.
9:37 AM, 7 Sep
Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering: "We are proud of India and its scientists today. Chandrayaan 2 saw some challenges last minute but courage and hard work you have shown are historical. Knowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi.I have no doubt he and his ISRO team will make it happen one day."
9:08 AM, 7 Sep
Chandrayaan-2 not panning out the way it should have, left scientists distraught as years' of hard work had gone into it. PM Modi was inside ground control when the contact with Vikram lander was lost. At that time, PM just spoke a few encouraging words and left the ISRO headquarters. Later at 8 am, the Prime Minister returned to ISRO and gave an inspiring speech. Modi said ups and downs are part of scientific endeavours. While leaving, the emotional meeting between the PM and ISRO chief was very touching.
9:00 AM, 7 Sep
"India is one of the major space powers in the world. The credit goes to all of you. It was you who were the first to reach Mars. ISRO has made many records. When success is your mantra then you can never go out of trajectory. Science never gets satisfied with the results. Its inherent quality is that it tries for more. I trust your confidence. I am not here to lecture you. I am meeting you all to get inspired from you," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he concluded his address with Bharat Mata ki jai.
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