Two weeks after Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander unsuccessfully attempted to make a soft landing on the south side of the moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation has said that it has not been able to make contact with it.
The lander, which attempted its landing on September 7, had a 14-day mission life. With the 14th day being on Saturday, ISRO chief K Sivan has announced that they have reached their deadline of attempting to contact Vikram.
The orbiter meanwhile is still intact and is in the lunar orbit. “Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is doing very well. There are eight instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it's meant to do. But we have not been able to establish communication with the lander yet,” Dr Sivan told the media. He added that they were trying to understand what happened to Vikram on a priority basis.
"The orbiter was initially planned for a year, but with the optimum mission planning, there is every possibility that it will last for another seven and a half years benefiting us for science experiments," said the ISRO chief.
ISRO had on Thursday said that a national committee of academics was analysing the reason behind why communication with Vikram was lost.
#Chandrayaan2 Orbiter continues to perform scheduled science experiments to complete satisfaction. More details on https://t.co/Tr9Gx4RUHQ— ISRO (@isro) September 19, 2019
Meanwhile, the National committee of academicians and ISRO experts is analysing the cause of communication loss with #VikramLander
The ISRO chief added that now their priority is Gaganyaan, which is the agency’s manned mission scheduled to launch in 2022. According to reports, ISRO intends to have the first unmanned mission under Gaganyaan by December 2020, and the second unmanned mission by July 2021, before sending astronauts into space.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in the 2018 Independence Day address that ISRO had planned to send three Indians to space by 2022.
ISRO is also expected to launch India’s first solar mission, Aditya L-1, by next year.
Dr K Sivan also announced that Chandrayaan-2 had achieved 98% of its objectives, even though they lost contact with the lander.
“The project was developed in two parts - science and technology demonstration. We achieved total success in science objective while in technology demonstration, the success percentage was almost full. That's why the project can be termed as 98% successful," he said.
(with IANS inputs)