The Indian aerospace authorities have announced the postponement of their first mission to the surface of the Moon, the ‘Chandrayaan-2’, which had planned to take off on Monday to reach the south pole of the satellite, not yet explored, between days 6 and 7 of September.
A technical problem has been observed in the launch vehicle system 56 minutes after takeoff, as a precautionary measure, the # Chandrayaan2 launch has been canceled for today, and the revised launch date will be announced later – Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
The ‘Chandrayaan-2’ is the second lunar mission in the country. The first mission, ‘Chandrayaan-1’, launched in 2008, orbited the Moon but did not land. Chandrayaan-2, which will take off from the base of Sriharikota, “will boldly go where no country has gone before: the region of the south pole of the Moon,” the ISRO had announced in a statement honoring the slogan of the historic TV series science fiction ‘Star Trek’.
The ISRO president, K Sivan, had warned that the final descent of 15 minutes “will be the most frightening moments since India has never undertaken such a complex mission” such as landing a probe in a cosmic body.
If India succeeds in the mission, it will become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the United States, Russia and China. The mission, budgeted at $142 million, will map the lunar surface, examine its composition and search for water.
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The mission of the Moon in India comes at a time when there is renewed global interest in lunar science. The United States is pressing for astronauts to return to the Moon in 2024, while Israel and China also launched missions to Earth’s closest neighbor this year. The launch of ‘Chandrayaan-2’ was scheduled to take place a day before the 50th anniversary of the launch of ‘Apollo 11’, the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon.