Indian scientists to plug snags that delayed 2nd moon mission

Indian space scientists are examining what went wrong in the functioning of a rocket that forced them to abort a mission to moon’s unexplored south pole just 54 minutes before its launch early on Monday.

They will be dismantling the rocket to find out the causes for the glitches and fix them before announcing a fresh date for the launch of Chandrayaan-2 probably by the end of July from Sriharikota.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said a “technical snag” was observed in the launch vehicle system at 1.55am local time before the take-off at 2.51am.

The space agency immediately cancelled the launch since any major malfunctioning of the rocket after the take-off would have been a big blow to India’s most ambitious $140 million space programme.

The agency called the postponement of the rocket launch “a measure of abundant precaution.”

ISRO’s earlier mission launched 11 years ago was a big success as it orbited near the south pole of the moon and sent back information confirming the presence of water molecules inside craters in the unchartered region.

Chandrayaan-2 is expected to gather more information about the presence of water on lunar surface, a possibility that raises hopes of human habitation in future.

Chandrayaan-2’s rover is expected to roll on lunar surface for about two weeks collecting data until its solar battery runs out. Its orbiter will circle the moon for a year, sending data and images to ISRO on the presence of water and other features in the unexplored region.

If the latest mission’s lander safely touches down on the moon, India will become the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to achieve that rare feat.

Not just India, the US, China, and various national and private agencies are planning lunar missions to south pole amid a renewed interest in moon exploration coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the historic moon landing by Apollo 11.

India’s is making great efforts to join a growing global space race. Although its missions are low-budgeted, most of them have achieved their objectives.

It had sent a satellite to orbit around Mars and successfully test-fired an anti-satellite weapon.

It is planning a manned space mission by 2022.