India's second unmanned mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, was called off today due to a technical glitch, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
“A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at T-56 minute. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later,” the ISRO tweeted.
The lift-off of the three-component spacecraft weighing 3,850 kg and comprising an orbiter, the lander and the rover on board the Geosynchronized Launch Vehicle Mark III, India’s most powerful rocket weighing 640 tonnes, was scheduled for 2.51am Indian time to be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Soon after its lift-off, Chandrayaan-2, India’s most ambitious space project costing $ 145 million, was expected to separate from the rocket and orbit the Earth several times before being on course to the moon to undertake a 384,000 km journey over the next 52 days.
The lander of the mission would have undertaken a soft-landing on the south pole of the moon, an unexplored territory so far, on September 6 or 7.
On landing on the moon’s surface, the lander would have rolled out the rover which conducts search of lunar rocks, craters and soil looking for evidence of water and minerals.
India’s first mission to the moon in October 2008 orbited the celestial body but did not land there. Using remote sensing technology, it had taken high resolution photos of the moon that found traces of water on the moon’s surface, igniting a fresh global interest in the moon.
If India’s unmanned landing mission is successful, it would be the fourth country after Russia, the US and China, to achieve the feat.