Updated: January 2, 2020 7:01:06 pm
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Sivan Thursday said it was a “big relief” when Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged and consoled him in September last year after the space agency’s moon mission Chandrayaan-2 failed to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.
Speaking to news channel NDTV, Sivan said it was a “great thing that the prime minister himself consoled me.” Chandrayaan-2, launched in July last year, had failed to soft-land its lander and rover modules on the moon and lost contact with the space agency.
Hours later, the Prime Minister consoled an emotional ISRO chief outside the agency’s headquarters in Bengaluru. In a video that had gone viral, Modi could be seen hugging Sivan as the latter broke down.
“When I was emotional, the honorable Prime Minister hugged me. He understood what really happened in my mind. He showed leadership. The hug taught me many lessons. It was a great thing that the prime minister himself consoled me. That gave us a big relief,” Sivan told NDTV.
“It gave us another motivation that we should do more. That is the feeling I had. We are working with more vigor now than we had, to achieve more and more in the space system,” the ISRO chairman said.
To complete the unfinished job of Chandrayaan-2, ISRO will send another moon mission, Chandrayaan-3, either this year or the next, and make a fresh attempt at landing on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-2 had developed problems just a few hundred metres from the lunar surface. It had crash-landed on the moon’s surface. The Orbiter module of Chandrayaan-2, which is meant to orbit the moon and collect observational data over the next seven years, however, has been functioning normally.
Unlike Chandrayaan-2, the Chandrayaan-3 mission would not have an Orbiter module, Sivan said. It would only have a lander and rover components, and would be aimed solely at establishing ISRO’s capability to land on an extra-terrestrial body, something that is essential before ISRO can undertake more missions to the moon.
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