NASA on Monday congratulated Indian space agency ISRO on the successful launch of its second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 and said it was looking forward to learn from the mission about the unexplored lunar south pole.
India’s quest to land its first spacecraft on the moon got off to a smooth start on Monday afternoon, with the successful launch of Chandrayaan-2 mission aboard the country’s most powerful rocket. The Chandrayaan-2 mission lifted off from the Sriharikota launch range at its appointed time of 0243 pm. Follow LIVE updates here
Taking to Twitter, NASA said, “Congrats to ISRO on the launch of Chandrayaan 2, a mission to study the Moon. We’re proud to support your mission comms using our Deep Space Network and look forward to what you learn about the lunar South pole where we will send astronauts on our Artemis mission in a few years.”
Congrats to @ISRO on the launch of Chandrayaan 2, a mission to study the Moon. We’re proud to support your mission comms using our Deep Space Network and look forward to what you learn about the lunar South pole where we will send astronauts on our #Artemis mission in a few years pic.twitter.com/dOcWBX3kOE
— NASA (@NASA) July 22, 2019
The US space agency is preparing to take its next giant leap with the ambitious Artemis programme that could see the “first woman and the next man” walk on the lunar surface. The Chandrayaan spacecraft is also carrying an instrument from NASA for free of cost.
On the other hand, Chandrayaan-2 is attempting to become the world’s first spacecraft to land near the South Pole of the moon. All the previous 28 landings on the moon, including the human landings, have happened in the equatorial region. ISRO chief K Sivan announced that the country’s most powerful rocket, GSLV MK-III, had successfully placed Chandrayaan 2 in the Earth orbit.
The NASA had previously had a Twitter exchange with the Indian space agency in 2014 on India’s successful Mars Orbit Insertion. NASA whose MAVEN mission reached the Martian orbit only two days ago, had congratulated ISRO on its historic feat. “We congratulate ISRO for its Mars arrival! Mars Orbiter joins the missions studying the Red Planet. Journey To Mars,” the US space agency had tweeted.
In 2014, India became the first Asian nation to reach the Red Planet, when it put the Mangalyaan probe into orbit around Mars. The Mars Orbiter Mission famously cost USD 74 million — less than the $100 million than Hollywood spent making space thriller “Gravity.”
The Rs 978-crore unmanned moon mission would see the lander and rover modules of the spacecraft make a soft-landing on the moon’s surface 48 days from now, on September 7. Both of them will be ‘alive’ there for 14 days, during which they will carry out various experiments and collect data.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the occasion as a “special moment that will be etched in the annals of history.”