Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) encountered a massive set back today when the Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-2 lost contact with ISRO’s ground control, just moments before its scheduled landing. All hopes are not lost yet ISRO has said, but experts suggest that all could actually be lost and a new mission would be required to place the rover on the moon.
India is proud of our scientists! They’ve given their best and have always made India proud. These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be!
Chairman @isro gave updates on Chandrayaan-2. We remain hopeful and will continue working hard on our space programme.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 6, 2019
Tension on the faces of scientists at ISRO was understandable after the control centre lost contact with Vikram. Years of hard work of hundreds of scientists had gone into the preparations of this ambitious Moon mission that would make India the fourth country to soft-land a module on Moon’s surface.
#WATCH PM Narendra Modi hugged and consoled ISRO Chief K Sivan after he(Sivan) broke down. #Chandrayaan2 pic.twitter.com/bytNChtqNK
— ANI (@ANI) September 7, 2019
In a statement, ISRO said Vikram Lander was moving as per pans but just 2.1 km above Moon’s surface, it lost contact with the ground control centre. “The data is being analysed,” said ISRO chief K Sivan.
At present, we do not know the exact status of Vikram and how it landed on the Moon. Isro has said further details will be announced once it analyses data.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was at Isro to watch the historic moment, told ISRO scientists they should not be disheartened and India is proud of their achievements.
Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram Lander was progressing on its planned trajectory and it 1.37am, Isro tweeted Vikram has started its powered descent, the first phase of which was rough braking.
Powered descent – Rough Braking of #VikramLander begins.#ISRO
— ISRO (@isro) September 6, 2019
When Vikaram successfully completed rough braking, scientists clapped in jubilation. At 1.49am, Isro tweeted Vikram has entered the second phase of powered descent and that rough braking has ended and fine braking started. It is in this phase that Vikram lost contact with ISRO’s control centre.
Scientists led by Isro chief K Sivan went into a huddle and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was keenly tracking the progress, was briefed on the development. A dismal mood enveloped the Mission Operations Complex at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC).
Later, K Sivan, who was seen engaged in intense discussions with some scientists, announced that the control centre has lost communication with Vikram.
“Vikram Lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, communication from the lander to ground stations was lost,” ISRO chief K Sivan said, adding that the data is being analysed.
This is Mission Control Centre. #VikramLander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, communication from Lander to the ground stations was lost. Data is being analyzed.#ISRO
— ISRO (@isro) September 6, 2019
Till the communication was snapped, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too was seen glued to the giant monitors that were tracking Vikram’s descent.