New Delhi: There will be a further delay in the launch of India’s second mission to the moon Chandrayaan-2 and it may be no sooner than January, according to a top official.
The postponement of the ambitious mission from October comes in the wake of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) facing two setbacks in less than a year. The launch of the mission was first planned in April.
Earlier this year, the ISRO had launched GSAT-6A, a military communication satellite, but lost communication with it. Following this, the ISRO also recalled the launch of GSAT-11 from from Kourou, French Guiana, for additional technical checks. Last September, the PSLV- C39 mission, carrying the IRNSS-1H navigation satellite, failed after the heat shield refused to open and release the satellite.
The ISRO is treading a cautious path after these two setbacks as Chandrayaan-2 is one of the crucial launches for the space agency, particularly after Chandrayaan-1 and Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission). It is also ISRO’s first mission to land on any celestial body. “We don’t want to take any risk,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
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The official added that there are certain windows during which the mission could be launched. The next launch window is likely to be in January. Repeated attempts to solicit a response from ISRO Chairman K Sivan were not successful.
In April, Sivan informed the government about the postponement of the launch to October-November. A national-level committee to review Chandrayaan-2 recommended some additional tests before the mission could take off.
Chandrayaan-2 will be ISRO’s first time attempt to land a rover on the Moon. The rover of India’s second lunar mission, costing nearly Rs 800 crore, will be made to land near the yet-unexplored south pole.