Last minute suspense, tension over Chandrayaan-2 launch

Chennai: With rains lashing areas in and around Chennai and a technical snag aborting last week’s launch, last minute suspense and tension prevailed over India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2, ahead of its launch this afternoon.

Chandrayaan-2 seeks to explore the unchartered Lunar south pole by landing a rover the countdown was started Sunday.

The Rs 978-crore mission, which has been rescheduled for today after scientists corrected the glitch in the rocket (the most powerful GSLV-Mk0III-M1), was set to be launched at 2.43 pm from the second launchpad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota near Chennai.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists, who aborted the previous launch with 56 minutes left for the countdown to end on 15 July, have taken quick remedial action based on an analysis carried out by a team set up to look into the snag and announced the rescheduled launch three days ago.

Chandrayaan-2 comes 11 years after ISRO’s successful first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 which scripted history by making more than 3,400 orbits around the Moon and was operational for 312 days till 29 August, 2009.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan said all preparations were on and the glitch had been rectified. “Whatever technical snag we observed on July 15 has been rectified. The vehicle is in good health… The (pre-launch) rehearsal has been successfully completed,” he said.

NT Bureau