As India’s dream of landing a spacecraft on the moon faded as Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram Lander lost contact with ISRO, the space agency Saturday said that the Orbiter component of the spacecraft is healthy and safe in lunar orbit. The Vikram Lander, carrying the Pragyaan Rover, had separated from the orbiter on September 3.
An ISRO official confirmed to news agency PTI that the orbiter was functioning normally. The orbiter, which weighs nearly 2,379 kg, is expected to go around the moon for one year. Its payloads will conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100 km orbit.
The Orbiter is tasked with taking pictures of the moon and relaying them back to ISRO to help scan and map the lunar surface for further experiments.
Former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair Saturday said that Chandrayaan-2 has achieved 95 per cent of its mission objectives. “I think we need not worry too much…I will rate more than 95 per cent of the mission objectives have been achieved,” Nair told PTI.
The Vikram Lander lost contact 13 minutes after its descent. It failed to bring down its speed from around 6,048 km per hour to about 7 km per hour.
Sometime after the communication was lost, ISRO Chief K Sivan said that the communication from the lander was lost, adding that the data was being analysed.
In order to boost the morale of the ISRO scientists, PM Modi said “the nation stands with you”. He emphasised that despite the failure, the effort was worth it and looking back at this journey will bring a lot of satisfaction.
“You came as close as you could. I also salute the families of our space scientists. I can proudly say that the efforts were worth it and so was the journey. Our team tried hard and traveled far and we will look back at the journey with great satisfaction, the learning from today will make us stronger and better. There will be a new dawn and brighter tomorrow very soon,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister urged the space agency to continue its efforts and said that “resilience and tenacity ar central to India’s ethos.”
“We will rise to the occasion and scale newer heights of success. To our scientists I want to say- India is with you! You are exceptional professionals who have made an incredible contribution to national progress,” PM Modi added.