Nearly three months after the technical snag that stopped India’s entry into the elite space club, the Narendra Modi government has officially confirmed about the fate of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram Lander. In a written reply to a question to the Department of Space in Lok Sabha, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh made the official statement. “The first phase of descent was performed nominally from an altitude of 30 kms to 7.4 kms above the moon's surface and velocity was reduced from 1,683 metres per second to 146 metres per second. During the second phase of descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value. Due to this deviation, the initial conditions at the start of the fine braking phase were beyond the designed parameters. As a result, Vikram hard-landed within 500 metres of the designated landing site," Singh said in the Lok Sabha.
While the crash landing was never a secret, the ISRO never made any official statement. This is the first time since September 7 that the Modi government has officially confirmed to the hard-landing of Vikram.
Meanwhile, latest reports say that the agency is preparing for Chandrayaan-3 to land on Moon by November next year. ISRO officials had told News Nation that no final decision has been taken yet and various things are under discussion. However, what gives credence to the November, 2020 launch date is the fact that ISRO officials said that the agency will be ready for another Moon Mission ‘by the end of 2020.’
Chandrayaan 3 will be part of ISRO’s crucial lunar operations. It all started in 2008 when Chandrayaan 1 successfully dropped ‘Moon Impact Probe’ on the surface of the Earth’s natural satellite. Chandrayaan 2, instead of planned soft landing, went for hard landing and landed Vikram lander on lunar surface. News Nation is also privy to information that within ISRO, some senior scientists are not with the decision to go for launch in November.
On September 7, the ISRO’s ambitions to touch down the south pole of the Moon faced a technical glitch after the space agency lost contact from Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander moments before landing on lunar surface. As soon as the fine braking phase started, the Vikram lander suddenly deviated from its path and stopped sending data back to the ground control.
Launched on July 22, Chandrayaan-2 entered the Moon's orbit on 20 August, a month after take-off. The touchdown of Vikram lander was scheduled between 1:30 am and 2:30 am, followed by the rollout of its rover named ‘Pragyaan’ between 5:30 am and 6.30 am.