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$150m Mission – Chandrayaan-2 Launch Halted Due To Technical Snag

India’s biggest space mission – Chandrayaan-2 halted due to ‘technical snag’ just an hour before the liftoff.

Before the launch, the countdown stopped 56 minutes after a technical problem was spotted in the launch vehicle system at 02:51 local time on Monday (21:21 GMT Sunday), said Indian space agency.

The satellite had been slated for launch from Sriharikota space station in Andhra Pradesh, India.

A revised launch date will be released soon.

“A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at 1 hour before the launch. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later,” ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) tweeted around 3 am.

Chandrayaan-2 – a $150 million mission – will be the first to land on the south pole of Moon, expects India.

Focusing on the lunar surface, it will search for water and minerals, and among other things, it will also measure moonquakes.

K Sivan, an ISRO chief said that this was ‘the most difficult space mission ever to be undertaken by the agency”.

Chandrayaan-2 (Moon Vehicle-2) weighs 2,379kg comprising an orbiter, a lander and a rover to lift off on the 640 tonnes Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), nicknamed as ‘Baahubali’ – India’s most powerful rocket, which is as high as a 14-storey building.

With a mission life of a year, the orbiter will “sniff” the tenuous atmosphere and take images of the lunar surface.

The robotic craft is likely to land on the Moon some 54 days after the lift-off travelling 384,000km (239,000-mile).

A 1.4-tonne lander named Vikram carries within its belly a 27-kilogramme Moon rover (called Pragyan – wisdom in Sanskrit) with instruments to analyze the lunar South Pole soil.

“There will be 15 terrifying minutes for scientists once the lander is released and is hurled towards the south pole of the Moon,” Dr Sivan said.

In its 14-day life, Pragyan after the touchdown on the moon will collect data to check if the lunar soil has primeval water reserves, among other things for analysis.

Dr Sivan said, “India can hope to get the first selfies from the lunar surface once the rover gets on its job.”

With nearly 1,000 scientists and engineers working on this mission, ISRO for the first time has chosen woman to lead an interplanetary mission.

Ritu Karidhal will navigate Chandrayaan-2; while for the past few years, the programme director Muthaya Vanitha has nurtured the spacecraft.

‘The budget of Chandrayaan 2 is approximately $124 million, which is less than the half of Hollywood blockbuster Avengers Endgame budget – $356 million,” according to a analysis by Sputnik International.

Interestingly, the India’s space agency –ISRO has a budget 20 times lower than its US counterpart-NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

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