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Final five mins of Chandrayaan-2 and the heartbreak hours: Watching hope crash in mission control

Chandrayaan-2: Vikram was on its way to land on the Moon as per plan. The bulk of the deceleration had already been achieved, and the next phase of the descent, during which the velocity was supposed to be brought down to about 2 metres/sec, was expected to be smoother.

Final five mins and the heartbreak hours: Watching hope crash in mission control Prime Minister Narendra Modi consoles ISRO chief K Sivan, in Bengaluru on Saturday. ANI

At 1.50 am on Saturday morning, more than 11 minutes after the Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-2 mission began its final descent to the Moon, there was energetic applause from the scientists at the mission operations complex at the ground tracking centre in Bengaluru. The velocity of the lander had fallen below 200 metres per second, brought down from the initial 1,680 metres/sec, and an important small milestone had been crossed.

Vikram was on its way to land on the Moon as per plan. The bulk of the deceleration had already been achieved, and the next phase of the descent, during which the velocity was supposed to be brought down to about 2 metres/sec, was expected to be smoother.

Also Read | Chandrayaan 2: Vikram lander’s failure raises questions on manned mission

On a large screen, a green dot, representing the actual change in the velocity of Vikram, was moving exactly along the red line.

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