India Launches Chandrayaan-2 To Join The League Of Lunar Countries

India has started a bid to become the leading space power on Monday by sending a rocket that is responsible for placing a craft on the surface of the Moon. Chandrayaan-2 also known as Moon Chariot 2, took off at 0913 GMT from the Satish Dhawan Space Center that is located on an island off the coast of Andhra Pradesh state.

As soon as the rocket blasted off and took to the skies, applause broke out in the mission control room. Mission control announced soon enough that the orbiter had successfully broken away from the rocket without any issue. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chief K Sivan said, ‘Today is a historic day for space, science and tech in India.’

The launch has taken place about a week after a cancelled blast-off. A fuel leak had caused the previous attempt to be postponed about 56 minutes before the slated blast-off took place. India is trying to follow the US, Russia, and China by trying to attempt the landing of a spacecraft on the Moon. President Ram Nath Kovind also watched the launch alongside 7,000 dignitaries and children who were waving the Indian flag. The rocket was carrying an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. It was almost completely designed and created in India.

The orbiter weighs 5,300 pounds and will be circling the Moon for about a year while taking images of the surface and looking for signs of water along with carrying out a study of the atmosphere. The lander has been named after Vikram A. Sarabhai who is touted as the father of India’s space program. The lander will carry the rover and shall be placed on the surface close to the lunar South Pole. The operation is most likely to take place in early September.

ISRO scientists will be controlling the rover, named Pragyaan, remotely as it performs experiments. Pragyaan means wisdom in Sanskrit. Pragyaan will be working for one lunar day that is equivalent of 14 Earth days during which it will study rocks and soil on the Moon’s surface. Kumar Krishen, a former NASA scientist, has stated that India’s space agency should be commended for executing ambitious projects such as Chandrayaan-2.

He said, ‘We should keep in mind that space exploration is risky as many systems have failed in the past and many lives lost.’ The latest mission has been kicked off about eleven years after the launch of India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, that orbited the Moon and looked for water.