ISRO said that there was no time to rectify the technical issues before the launch, and therefore called off the moon mission on Monday morning.

Chandrayaan-2 mission called off less than an hour before launch due to technical snag
news Chandrayaan-2 Monday, July 15, 2019 - 02:30

India’s ambitious moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, was put on hold early on Monday morning, just 56 minutes and 24 seconds before its scheduled launch. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that there was a technical glitch which could not be rectified before the launch, and therefore the mission to the moon's South Pole had to be called off for the day. ISRO is yet to announce a new date for the launch.

ISRO tweeted, "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 countdown clock at the Satish Dhawan Space Research Centre in Sriharikota was stopped at 56.24 – less than an hour before the scheduled launch at 2.51 am on Monday. Schedule times of launch vehicles cannot be changed arbitrarily as the scientists need to take into account the gravitational forces of the earth, the moon, and other astronomical bodies.

While there is a slot on Tuesday when the gravitational forces will be right for the launch, ISRO cannot confirm whether the technical glitch can be sorted by then.

Launches have been called off before too in India. In 2013, ISRO called off the GSLV D-5 mission due to a leak in the fuel system of the launch vehicle during the filling up of the liquid propellant. This launch was called off with just 1 hour 14 minutes and 20 seconds left for the launch. GSLV-D5 was launched in its second attempt on January 5, 2014.

GSLV-MK III – the vehicle carrying Chandrayaan-2 which seems to have developed a technical glitch – is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons (S200), a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C-25).

As previously reported, Chandrayaan-2 has three modules – an orbiter, a lander (Vikram), and a rover (Pragyan). The lander, Vikram, was supposed to touch base near the South Pole of the moon on September 6, which is the darker side of the moon. The lunar South Pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area here remains in shadow, and is much larger than that at the North Pole, according to ISRO.

This is supposed to be India’s first complex robotic mission to space; the first space mission to be entirely headed by women; first space mission to conduct a soft landing on the moon's South Polar region. Almost the entire orbiter, lander and rover were designed and made in India. 

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