India has successfully launched its second lunar mission a week after it halted the scheduled blast-off due to a technical snag.
The country’s latest lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh state at 2:43 p.m., Monday local time.
The three-stage rocket GSLV-MkIII-M1 launch vehicle, nicknamed Baahubali, lifted off successfully and injected Chandrayaan-2 into Earth’s orbit, where it will spend 23 days.In fact, the orbit is 6,000 km more than what was intended.
It will travel for two months, before positioning itself in a circular orbit 62 miles (100km) above the moon’s surface. From there, the lander-named Vikram after the pioneer of the Indian space program Vikram Sarabhai,will separate from the main vessel and gently land on the moon’s surface near its South Pole.
If successful, India will become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the Moon’s surface. Only the former Soviet Union, the US and China have been able to do so.
For the first time in India’s space history, an interplanetary expedition is being led by two women – Muthaya Vanitha, the project director, and Ritu Karidhal, the mission director.
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi tweeted: “The launch of Chandrayaan2 illustrates the prowess of our scientists and the determination of 130 crore Indians to scale new frontiers of science.Special moments that will be etched in the annals of our glorious history.Every Indians is immensely proud today.”