ISRO scientists work on various modules of lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 at ISRO Satellite Integration and Test Establishment (ISITE) in Bengaluru, India. File photo/Reuters
India’s space agency said it delayed the launch of its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, in the early hours of Monday due to a “technical snag” which was observed less than an hour before the scheduled liftoff.
“A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at T-56 minute,” the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), said in a tweet. “As a measure of abundant precaution, Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today.”
The mission, which the ISRO chairman said is the most complex mission it has ever undertaken, was scheduled to launch at 09:21pm GMT, or 02:51am local time on the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III rocket.
ISRO said it will announce the revised launch date later. India successfully carried out its first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, nearly 11 years ago.
The 10-billion rupee ($146 million) mission, if successful, would boost India’s aspirations to catch up with global space leaders United States and China and put it in a better position to compete in the commercial space market.
A success would make India only the fourth country behind the United States, Russia and China to perform a “soft,” or controlled, landing on the moon and put a rover on it.
This would be the third attempted moon landing this year after China’s successful Chang’e-4 lunar probe and Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, which failed and crashed on to the moon in April.
Chandrayaan-2, built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is now scheduled to be launched at 0913 GMT (1443 IST) on July 22, ISRO said in a tweet.
India lost contact with its unmanned spacecraft just before it was due to land on the Moon on Saturday, in a blow to the country’s ambitious low-cost lunar programme.
India on Monday joined an elite club of nations who have landed a spacecraft on the Moon. The country has used homegrown technology in the mission.
A fast and cheap paper-based coronavirus test will soon be available across India, with scientists hopeful it will help turn the tide on the pandemic in one of the world’s worst-hit nations.
It was a high-flying scheme that landed with a thud: seven alleged flying squirrel traffickers were arrested in the US state of Florida after capturing thousands of animals worth more than $1 million.
India on Wednesday returned a Chinese soldier detained after straying across a disputed border where the two countries have clashed in recent months, China's army announced.