In a dramatic and anti-climactic turn of events, the Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) called off the highly-anticipated Chandrayaan 2 launch 56 minutes before its scheduled liftoff at 2.51 am on 15 July.
The Indian Space Research Organisation is counting down to the launch of India's second mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2. The spacecraft, carrying an orbiter, lander and a rover, will be launched on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-MkIII from a launchpad in Sriharikota, as was planned earlier.
When & where you can watch it live
The mission will be streamed live on DD National's YouTube channel and tech2's Youtube, Facebook and Twitter handles, made available 30 minutes before the launch window opens, at 2.43 pm IST on 22 July.
What does the mission comprise off?
ISRO said that the Orbiter and Lander modules of Chandrayaan-2 have been stacked together with the rover tucked away inside the lander as a single integrated module that was recently fit into the GSLV MK-III-M1 rocket for a ride to orbit. The Chandrayaan-2 integrated module is expected to reach the Moon's orbit by September, and make a landing on 6 September.
This spacecraft has its own Orbiter propulsion module which will power the vehicle's escape out of Earth's orbit and into the Moon's. Once the spacecraft reaches the Moon's orbit, it will attempt to make a soft landing in a region 600 kilometres away from the lunar South pole. This would be the >first time any mission touched down so far from the equator, according to a report in Science. The lander will separate from the orbiter and descend to the surface to make India's first-ever moon landing around 6 September, ISRO estimates in the release.
The Pragyaan rover will roll out of the Vikram lander carrying an array of scientific instruments meant to study the lunar surface. Some of the instruments in the mission will also be mounted on the lander and orbiter. The orbiter module of Chandrayaan-2 will circle the moon and relay data and information about conditions on the surface, ISRO states on its website.
"The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice," the statement adds.
The 20-kilogram, six-wheeled Pragyaan rover is a semi-autonomous robot that is tasked with studying the composition of regolith, the mixture of tiny moon rocks and fine dust the blankets the Moon's surface.
Chandrayaan-2 will be India's second mission to the moon, and the first to attempt a soft landing. It is a follow-up mission to Chandrayaan-1, which launched in October 2008 and helped provide the first confirmation of water (in the form of hydroxyl ions) on the moon in 2009.