Sunday 25 August 2019

India reschedules launch of moon mission for Monday

The mission was called off less than an hour before lift-off on Monday 15.

(AP/PA)
(AP/PA)

By Associated Press Reporters

India’s space agency has said it will launch a spacecraft to the south pole of the moon on Monday after an aborted effort this week.

The Indian Space Research Organisation said the Chandrayaan-2 launch is now rescheduled for 2.43pm on Monday 22.

It added that an expert committee had identified the root cause of the previous technical snag and all corrective actions have been implemented.

The mission was called off less than an hour before lift-off of the 640-ton, 14-storey rocket launcher on Monday 15.

Chandrayaan, the Sanskrit word for “moon craft”, is designed to make a soft landing on the lunar south pole and send a rover to explore water deposits that were confirmed by a previous orbiting Indian space mission.

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Preparations on Monday 15 (Indian Space Research Organisation/AP)

The new launch schedule on Sriharikota, an island off India’s south-eastern coast, is sooner than expected.

Pallava Bagla, a science editor of the New Delhi Television news channel, had earlier said launch windows would have to meet several technical criteria and it could take weeks or months for a new date.

Dr K Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, said the £110 million Chandrayaan-2 mission was the nation’s most prestigious to date, in part because of the technical complexities of soft landing on the lunar surface — an event he described as “15 terrifying minutes”.

A soft landing would make India only the fourth country to do so after the US, Russia and China.

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