The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s ambitions to touch down the south pole of the Moon faced a snap on Saturday as the Vikram Lander deviated from its path and lost contact with the ground control room moments before landing on lunar surface. ISRO Chief K Sivan said that Vikram lander descent went as planned and normal performance was observed unto altitude of 2.1 kilometers when it stopped sending the data.
However, the Vikram lander suddenly deviated from its path as soon as the fine braking phase started and stopped sending data back to the ground control. Although the scientists were observing the data to reach on any conclusion, there is still hope that the agency might be able to establish contact with the mission.
Speaking about the development, ISRO Chief K Sivan said that Vikram lander descent went as planned and normal performance was observed upto altitude of 2.1 kilometres when it stopped sending the data. "Subsequently communications from lander to ground station was lost. The data is being analysed," Sivan added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was there to watch the landing, comforted the crestfallen ISRO scientists, saying that this was a no small achievement and expressed hopes the agency reconnects with the Vikram lander.
"There are ups and downs in life. This is not a small achievement. The nation in proud of you. Hope for the best. I congratulate you. You all have done a big service to nation, science and mankind. I am with you all the way, move forward bravely," Modi said.
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.
Chandrayaan-2 was the most complex mission ever attempted by the India's space agency. Had the landing gone as planned, India would have become the first country to the land a mission on the south pole of the Moon.