India loses contact with Chandrayaan-2 Moon lander ‘Vikram‘ during its descent when it was just 2 km from the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-2 was launched on July 22 entered lunar orbit on August 20, on September 2, Vikram separated from the mission orbiter, and the freed lander began a series of braking maneuvers to lower the orbit and getting ready for landing. Shortly before touchdown, Vikram module stopped communicating with Earth when it was just 1.3 miles from the lunar surface.
The fate of the craft is still not known but if India was able to make the soft landing of Vikram lander on the south pole region of Moon it would have joined the elite group of nations who have successfully accomplished a soft landing on the moon. The three countries are the United States of America, China, and USSR.
ISRO is a statement said, “The success criteria were defined for each and every phase of the mission and till date, 90 to 95% of the mission objectives have been accomplished and will continue to contribute to Lunar science, notwithstanding the loss of communication with the Lander,”.
It was a mission of national pride for India and was built and launched for approximately US$150 million, much cheaper than NASA and ESA missions and was to have served as a prototype for future missions to Mars and to send Indian astronauts into space.
The Prime Minister had witnessed the descent of `Vikram’ Lander at the ISRO Control Centre early on Saturday. The Lander descended normally till an altitude of 2.1 km from the surface of the moon but subsequently, communication to the ground stations was lost.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a public statement after mission control lost contact that “The best is yet to come in our space programme. India is with you. He said it was a historic achievement that the Orbiter, which was a significant part of the Chandrayaan 2 mission, has been placed successfully in the lunar orbit.
This was the third attempted landing on the Moon in 2019, following the Chinese Chang’e 4 which successfully landed in January, and the Israeli Beresheet, which had a similar failure in the final landing process and crashed on the Moon on April 2019.
ISRO is analyzing data from the Vikram lander’s descent and is hoping to make contact with the spacecraft. Vikram houses the six-wheeled rover Pragyaan that was to explore the lunar surface for around 14 Earth days.
We congratulate @ISRO on their incredible efforts on #Chandrayaan2. The mission is a huge step forward for India and will continue to produce valuable data to fuel scientific advancements. We have no doubt that India will achieve its space aspirations. AGW https://t.co/r1TAjvRl47— State_SCA (@State_SCA) September 7, 2019
Australian Space Agency: The Vikram Lander was just a few kilometres short of realising its mission to the Moon. To the team at ISRO, we applaud your efforts and the commitment to continue our journey into space. #Chandrayaan2 pic.twitter.com/XTe83DGMIB— ANI (@ANI) September 7, 2019
This is Mission Control Centre. #VikramLander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, communication from Lander to the ground stations was lost. Data is being analyzed.#ISRO— ISRO (@isro) September 6, 2019