Nueva Delhi, jul (SF) – India successfully launched a mission to take a vehicle to the Moon, at a historic moment for a nation trying to become a space superpower.
The country’s last lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, which means “lunar vehicle” in Sanskrit, took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota in the state of Andhra Pradesh at 2:43 pm this Monday local time (5:13 am ET)..
The launch was originally scheduled for July 15, but was abruptly suspended only 56 minutes before takeoff due to a “technical problem”.
INDIA IS NOW ON THE ROAD TO BECOME THE FOURTH COUNTRY, IN ADDITION TO THE UNITED STATES, CHINA AND THE OLD SOVIET UNION, TO MAKE A SOFT LANDING ON THE LUNAR SURFACE.
The Chandrayaan-2, which weighs 3.8 tons and carries 13 payloads, has three elements: lunar orbiter, lander and exploration vehicle, all developed by the Space Research Organization of India (ISRO).
It will travel for two months, before positioning itself in a circular orbit 62 miles (100 km) above the surface of the Moon. From there, the landing module, called Vikram in honor of the pioneer of the Indian space program Vikram Sarabhai, will separate from the main ship and land gently on the surface of the Moon near its South Pole.
Over the next year, the orbiter will map the lunar surface and study the moon’s outer atmosphere.
Kailasavadivoo Sivan, president of ISRO, said in June that the last 15 minutes of the landing “will be the scariest moments for us.”
In addition to coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo lunar landing, the launch occurs when other space agencies review the idea of sending humans to the Moon and beyond: NASA has promoted a bold plan to return US astronauts to the Moon by 2024.