Technical / No communication with Vikram lander, ISRO to focus on Gaganyaan now

NDTV : Sep 21, 2019, 01:58 PM

The Indian Space Research Organisation has not been able to contact Chandrayaan 2 lander Vikram, ISRO Chief K Sivan said today as the deadline to contact the lander, which had a 14-day mission life, ends. The premier space agency made a historic attempt to soft land on the lunar surface on September 7.

"Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is doing very well. There are eight instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do. But we have not been able to establish communication with the lander yet," ISRO Chief K Sivan told news agency ANI. 

"We have to understand what happened to the that lander... that is our first priority," Mr Sivan said, and added that Gaganyaan will be the space agency's next priority.

Earlier today, lunar night began to fall in the south polar region of the moon where the lander was attempting a descent on September 7 and lost contact with the ground station. This would make it impossible for the lander to get any sunlight and generate power for its functioning, ISRO had said earlier. During the lunar night, temperatures could drop to as low as minus 200 degrees Celsius, which could freeze the lander's instruments.

On Thursday, the premier space agency said a national-level committee of academics and ISRO experts experts are "analysing the cause of communication loss" with the lander. ""#Chandrayaan2 Orbiter continues to perform scheduled science experiments to complete satisfaction. Meanwhile, the National committee of academicians and ISRO experts is analysing the cause of communication loss with #VikramLander," the ISRO tweeted.

Chandrayaan 2 captured images of the lunar region where lander Vikram made an unsuccessful attempt to soft-land, NASA confirmed on Thursday. The images were captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft during its flyby on September 17, the US space agency said.

India had expected to make space history with the Rs. 1,000-crore Chandrayaan 2 mission.

A successful soft landing on the moon's surface would have made the country only the fourth - after the United States, Russia and China - to achieve the feat. It would also have made India the first country to complete a soft landing near the South Pole on its first attempt.