Chandrayaan-2 orbiter healthy in lunar orbit: ISRO official

Chandrayaan-2 orbiter healthy in lunar orbit: ISRO official

"Communications from lander to ground station was lost", said Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation early on Saturday.

Prime minister Narendra Modi, who was present at the Isro control centre, offered words of support to scientists before leaving the tracking centre.

The spacecraft also carries an orbiter, lander and a rover, all nearly entirely designed and made in India.

Modi spoke after Sivan's announcement, appearing to bolster downcast spirits in mission control as they investigated the issue.

This screen grab taken from a live webcast by the Indian Space Research Organisation shows the Vikram lander before it was supposed to land on the Moon - communication was subsequently lost.

Delivered by Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, the Vikram was aiming for the south pole of the moon, where it was to deploy a small rover - dubbed Pragyan - and look for signs of water. Only the former Soviet Union, the USA and China have successfully landed a man-made device on the Earth's satellite so far.

"India is proud of our scientists!"

After the hoped-for landing, Modi had been scheduled to give a national address praising India's space programme.

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The US space agency NASA said last year it believes it can put humans on the Red Planet within 25 years. Let us move with courage.

A major factor that kept costs low was the slow velocity of the journey.

The launch of Chandrayaan-2 was carried out successfully on July 22 by the GSLV Mk-III from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota and had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14.

The Indian embassy here has arranged a live screening and presentation on Chandrayaan-2's landing on Friday.

Sivan had earlier described the final moments of the landing mission as "15 minutes of terror", due to the complexities involved with lunar gravity, terrain and dust.

Should the Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram manage an ideal landing, ISRO plans to roll out the Pragyan lunar rover - that's the thing that will actually make those aforementioned observations - a few hours later.

If the lander is proved to be forever lost, the Chandrayaan-2 mission continues with the orbiter craft, which was outfitted with a variety of technologies to collect data on the moon's surface composition and atmosphere, as well as map the terrain, to include where ice made of water is located.

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