BREAKING NEWS

Communication link with Vikram lander broken says ISRO chief


Suspense hangs over the fate of India's first moon lander Vikram as the communication link seems to be broken just before the final touchdown.

The communication was lost as the lander was descending towards the Moon early on Saturday and was at an altitude of 2.1 km over the moon's South Pole where it was due to land, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan announced after a period of silence among the scientists monitoring its course.

It is learnt the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at the space agency's telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) are analyzing the issue to check the problem.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday told ISRO scientists not to lose confidence after communication with the Vikram lander was lost while it was descending to the moon's South Pole.

Interacting with the gloomy-faced scientists at the control room of the ISTRAC, the Prime Minister said: "Whatever you have done till now is no mean feat."

"The the nation is proud of you. You all have served the nation and done a great service to science and mankind. Move ahead with lots of courage. I am with you, hope for the best," he said.

The Prime Minister also interacted with the students present there to witnesss the landing and patiently answered their questions.

In a series of tweets subsequently, Modi said: "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! 

 
All was going well with the 1,471 kg Vikram that began its descent at about 1.38 a.m. from an altitude of 30 km at a velocity of 1,680 metres per second.

The lander was smoothly coming down with ISRO officials applauding at regular intervals and their faces beaming with pride.

The lander successfully completed its rough braking phase with its descent speed going down well.

While the rough braking phase of the lander was done well, the communication link between Vikram and the Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter got snapped when the former was at an altitude of 2.1 km above the moon surface.

Meanwhile, the 2,379 kg Chandrayaan-2 orbiter continues to fly around the moon. Its mission life is one year.

On July 22, Chandrayaan-2 was launched into the space by India's heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) in a text book style.

The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft comprised three segments - the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), 'Vikram' (1,471 kg, four payloads) and rover 'Pragyan' (27 kg, two payloads).

After five earth bound orbit raising activities, Chandrayaan-2 was inserted into lunar orbit. The lander Vikram carrying the rover Pragyan separated from Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft on September 2.

"Chairman @isro gave updates on Chandrayaan-2. We remain hopeful and will continue working hard on our space programme."

 

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