India made history on July 22, 2019 when Chandrayaan-2, its most ambitious mission to the moon yet, lifted off successfully at 2.43 pm. What makes this moment all the more special is that just a week ago, on July 15, Chandrayaan-2’s scheduled launch was called off after a technical snag. Congratulating the team for pulling off the mission, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K Sivan in his address recounted how they worked to make the launch possible on Monday.
Calling it a “historical day”, Sivan also announced that India had done one better and launched Chandrayaan-2 6000 kilometres further than what was the intended orbit. He explained that this was a good thing because it would give the satellite team more room to do manoeuvres on the vehicle till Chandrayaan-2 reaches the moon.
“This is the beginning of India’s historical journey to the moon,” Sivan said.
“A week back, after when we observed the technical snag, entire ISRO team swung into action. The work done in the next 24 hours was mind boggling. Quickly, the vehicle was brought back to normal. The root cause of the technical snag was identified, it was corrected – everything happened in 24 hours. In the next one and a half days – required tests were conducted to make sure everything was normal. Then, the vehicle was handed over to management for action,” he said.
“ISRO bounced back with flying colours,” Sivan added, observing that the staff had burnt midnight oil to make this possible.
Commending the engineers, technical and supporting staff at ISRO, Sivan noted, “They worked continuously, forgetting about their families, sacrificing their interests… they worked in non-stop mode. They worked to ensure that the snag is fixed properly. The expert team constituted was also really on the job for the last seven days.”
“It is my duty to salute all the people who made this happen,” he said.
While scenes of jubilation and victorious smiles were all around, Sivan said that though the launch had been successful, their task was far from over.
“The mantle is now given to satellite team. They have 15 very crucial manoeuvres to do in the next 1.5 months. Then, the D-day will come, and we will experience 15 minutes of terror to ensure landing [of Chandrayaan-2] is done safely near the south pole,” he said.
He also announced that ISRO was looking into more space missions for the year. “We have already taken a review today to talk about the next mission. We are going to have series of missions this year. ISRO will work together and ensure we are successful. I profusely thank all of you again,” Sivan concluded.