ISRO Scientists Analysing Data From Vikram Lander, Efforts To Re-establish Contact Underway

Sunday, 08 Sep, 2019

"The data is being analysed", he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had arrived onsite at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, about half an hour before touchdown of the landed component, dubbed Vikram, was scheduled to take place.

The spacecraft successfully entered the lunar orbit on August 20 by performing Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuvre.

Modi told scientists after Sivan's announcement that "what you have done (already) is not a small achievement". "They've given their best and have always made India proud".

An illustration of the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and landing module's post-separation in their independent orbits around the moon.

From there, the rover will exit the lander, collecting data like mineral and chemical samples from the moon's south pole, which might host reservoirs of ice that could be used for rocket fuel. "The data is being analyzed", said ISRO chairman K. Sivan.

Given its importance to India's burgeoning space program, to lunar science, and to future missions, I think it is fair to say that we would all like to know the lander made it to the surface with at most a few bumps.

Speaking to PTI, a senior official closely associated with the mission, said later: "There is no communication with the lander. Let us hope for the best", Mr. Modi said.

The Vikram lander was one of three components comprising the Chandrayaan-2, which also included a lunar orbiter and the Pragyan rover.

A live broadcast from ISRO, India's equivalent of NASA, showed scientists grow tense and the floor fall silent as the control station struggled to get a signal from the lander. In our glorious history of thousands of years, we have faced moments that may have slowed us but they have never crushed our spirit. Only the former Soviet Union, the U.S. and China have successfully landed a man-made device on the Earth's satellite so far.

India's Chandrayaan 2 was launched July 22 to reach near the moon's south pole.

The incident recalled the crash landing of Israel's Beresheet spacecraft, which in April smashed into the moon's surface during its attempt to land there.

The space agency's chairman had earlier called Chandrayaan-2 the "most complex mission ever" undertaken by the space agency.

The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, meanwhile, continues to operate and is expected to perform scientific obervations of the Moon for at least a year. The mission involved an impact probe that was created to collide with the lunar surface to disperse materials for remote measurement by the orbiter.

The mission will focus on the lunar surface, searching for water and minerals and measuring moonquakes, among other things.