Bengaluru/New Delhi: More than a decade after its first lunar mission, the Indian Space & Research Organisation (ISRO) will launched Chandrayaan-2 today as it looks to further India’s presence in the space race.
While Chandrayaan-1 confirmed the presence of water molecules in lunar soil, with Chandrayaan-2, ISRO aims to go to the moon’s south pole, an area so far untouched by mankind.
ISRO aborted the first attempt to launch Chandrayaan-2 less than an hour before the launch on 15 July after it found a technical glitch. The space agency has since rectified the problem.
The spacecraft was launched aboard GSLV-MkIII, India’s most powerful rocket, at 2:43pm.
Here are the launch updates here:
03:12 pm: ISRO chief K. Sivan concludes speech and marks the end of the launch mission. Once Chandrayaan-2 is in orbit, it will scan the lunar surface to figure out a suitable landing site. When finalised, the site map will be uploaded to Vikram, which will use it to navigate and perform a ‘soft landing’, i.e., not crash. This is currently scheduled for September 7.
03:10 pm: Sivan says this mission is three missions strapped into one.
03:09 pm: We will carry out 15 important manoeuvres to ensure Chandrayaan-2 reaches the moon, says ISRO chairman Sivan.
03:09 pm: ISRO gives out visuals from Chandrayaan-2.
— ISRO (@isro) July 22, 2019
03:08 pm: Sivan congratulates the scientists, saying they worked tirelessly to make sure the snag was fixed.
03:06 pm: We were able to quickly identify the snag and correct it in 24 hours. In the following days, we carried out tests to ensure the satellite launch will be successful.
03:03 pm: ISRO Chairman K. Sivan begins addressing everyone. Confirms success of launch, says ISRO has bounced back with flying colours.
03:02 pm: Scientists cheers and congratulate each other in launch control room.
03:00 pm: Cryogenic stage shutsoff. Chandrayaan-2 is now separated and in orbit around the Earth.
02:57 pm: Onboard camera beams back view of the Earth.
02:55 pm: Once the spacecraft escapes Earth’s gravity, it will cruise to the moon. When near the moon, it will retro-fire the thrusters to brake and slow down before entering into lunar orbit by lowering itself.
02:51 pm: The cryo stage ignited at the 311 second mark. This will burn until the 959 second mark.
02:49 pm: All parameters declared to be performing normal. Scientists break into applause in the launch control room as the cryogenic stage ignites.
02:47 pm: At 131 seconds, the strap on boosters separated. Payload fairing separation occurs at the 203 second mark, when the rocket has passed the atmosphere and entered space. The nose cone comes off and the spacecraft is exposed to space.
02:43 pm: Launch successful. The L110 core will separate at an altitude of 43.9 km.
02:41 pm: The launch today will be declared a success 16 mins after the launch, which is the time it would take for the GSLV to climb to an altitude of nearly 182 km and inject Chandrayaan-2 into orbit around the earth.
02:39 pm: Final checks completed. It is T minus 4 minutes to launch.
02:35 pm: It’s T minus 8 minutes. GSLV Mk 3 is undergoing final checks.
02:32 pm: The automatic launch sequence of Chandrayaan-2 has begun.
02:31 pm: The GSLV Mk-III might be India’s most powerful rocket, but it’s still not powerful enough to inject it directly into a path to the moon. Instead, it will drop the spacecraft off into orbit around the earth. Chandrayaan2 will then perform orbit raising manouvers to escape the earth’s gravity.
02:30 pm: The NASA payload is yet another laser retroreflector array, similar to what the Apollo11 astronauts placed on the moon. This works by reflecting lasers from and back to earth. It enables a better approximation of the earth-moon distance. Official details about the Indian pyaloads can be found here.
02:25 pm: Mission director gives authorisation to launch Chandrayaan-2. This the 73rd launch mission at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
02:23 pm: For a detailed explainer on what the mission is, what its objectives are, and why ISRO called this their most complex mission, click here.
02:16 pm: Visuals from the launch control centre in Sriharikota show a relatively calm ISRO staff. The space agency chairman K. Sivan told reporters on Saturday that there will be no technical snag like the last time.
02:12 pm: Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter, lander and rover have eight, four and two payloads, respectively. These payloads will analyse the water on the lunar surface, monitor lunar quakes, dig and study minerals and more. All the payloads are Indian, except for one American payload on the lander, operated by NASA.
02:06 pm: The last scheduled launch on 15 July was cancelled because a pressure leak was detected in the cryo stage of the GSLV rocket. The issue is fixed now and the fuel loading is in process. So far, no issue has been reported today.
02:00 pm: It’s 2pm and the launch is barely 40 mins away. In ISRO’s own words, the organisation is preparing to take “a billion dreams” to the moon.
01:57 pm: ISRO keeps the countdown going. Confirms one more stage is completed — the filling of Liquid Hydrogen in Cryogenic Stage (C25) of GSLVMkIII-M1.
As our journey begins, do you know what is the distance of Moon from Earth? The average distance is 3, 84, 000 km, Vikram lander will land on Moon on the 48th day of the mission, which begins today.
Here's different view of #GSLVMkIII-M1 pic.twitter.com/4LFEmT2xxZ
— ISRO (@isro) July 22, 2019
01:55 pm: The lander is expected to touchdown on the lunar surface on 7 September.
01:40 pm: Chandrayaan-2 has three components — an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. The lander, Vikram, is named after Vikram Sarabhai, the ‘father of Indian space programme’. The rover, housed inside the lander, is called ‘Pragyaan’, meaning ‘knowledge’ in Sanskrit.
01:22 pm: ISRO has since completed filling UH25 (fuel) and N204 for the liquid core stage (L110), and filling liquid oxygen for the Cryogenic Stage (C25).
01:00 pm: ISRO began its official countdown to the launch 18 hours ago with the stages to the filling of liquid core of GSLVMkIII-M1.