A television grab shows the launch of Chandrayaan - Moon Chariot 2 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
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. With Chandrayaan 2 in orbit, the country becomes the fourth member of the space club, after the US, Russia and China.
Chandrayaan 2 lifted off from its launch pad at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 2:43pm on Monday on board the giant heavy-lift rocket GSLV Mark 3.
"We've started receiving signals,” said officials at the depatment of space as they spoke at around 5:00pm.
The GSLV Mark 3 rocket gained speed and headed towards the outer atmosphere, propelled by the massive thrust from the powerful 640-tonne rocket. Minutes later, it put Chandrayaan 2 into Earth's orbit.
It is expected to make a soft landing on the unmapped surface of the Moon on the South Pole. The lander and rover are expected to make a landing on the Moon on Sept.6.
"I am extremely happy to announce that GSLV Mark 3 successfully injected the Chandrayaan 2 into orbit... It is the beginning of a historical journey for India... We fixed a serious technical snag and ISRO bounced back with flying colours," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Special moments that will be etched in the annals of our glorious history! The launch of #Chandrayaan2 illustrates the prowess of our scientists and the determination of 130 crore Indians to scale new frontiers of science.
Every Indian is immensely proud today!” He added: "Efforts such as Chandrayaan-2 will further encourage our bright youngsters towards science,top quality research and innovation.
Thanks to Chandrayaan, India’s Lunar Programme will get a substantial boost. Our existing knowledge of the Moon will be significantly enhanced.” This is the Indian space agency’s most ambitious mission till date is aimed at exploring the south pole of the moon which holds maximum promise for the presence of water as well as of fossil footprints.
The 20-hour countdown for the launch of the Rs10 billion mission began Sunday evening at 6.43 pm. The GSLV Mark 3 - ISRO's largest and most powerful rocket - is 44 metres long or as tall as a 15-storey building.
The rocket propelled into space an orbiter, a lander 'Vikram' (named after ISRO founder and eminent Indian scientist Vikram Sarabhai) and a moon rover 'Pragyaan.' A mission by China landed in the northernmost part, followed by Russia's Luna missions. Most of the American lunar landings, including Apollo missions, were in the Moon's equatorial region.
The Chandrayaan 2 mission was stopped 56 minutes and 24 seconds before its launch last Monday after a technical snag was discovered in the unmanned launch vehicle system.
ISRO said the decision was taken "as a measure of abundant precaution.” The ISRO chairman called Chandrayaan 2 the "most complex mission ever undertaken by ISRO.” The lander and the rover will conduct the scientific experiments for 14 days. The Orbiter, however, will be operational for a year.
ISRO explains that the objectives of Chandrayaan-2 are different from Chandrayaan-1. The space agency points out that: India would be the fourth nation to attempt a soft landing.
It will be the first space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon's south polar region.
It will be the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology.
This is the first Indian lunar mission to land on Moon which was led by two women - mission director Ritu Karidhal and the project director Muthayya Vanitha.
Dr M Annadurai, the project director of Chandrayaan-1, has been quoted in the media as saying: "Vanitha is an expert in data handling. She was comfortable in her digital/ hardware section and was hesitant to move to a project director role. This role not only involves nearly 18 hours of work a day at its peak, which means many sacrifices but is also in the national limelight bringing heavy responsibility of its own.” Ritu Karidhal was associated with the Mars Orbiter Mission in 2013.
Karidhal carried out the operations of the satellite.
Chandrayaan-2 — Moon Chariot 2 — took off as scheduled at 2:43 pm (0913 GMT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, an island off the coast of southern Andhra Pradesh state.
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’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.
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