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Lander Vikram located on Lunar surface: ISRO chief

Lander Vikram located on Lunar surface: ISRO chief

Bengaluru: The Chandrayaan-2's Vikram module has been located on the Lunar surface, and it must have been a hard-landing, ISRO chairman K Sivan said on Sunday, in an admission that the planned soft-landing wasn't successful.

Yes, we have located the lander on the lunar surface. It must have been a hard-landing, Sivan said.

Asked if the lander was damaged during the hard-landing, he said: That we do not know.

Sivan said efforts to establish contact with the lander were continuing. India's mission to soft-land on moon suffered a setback during the wee hours on Saturday, with 'Vikram' module losing communication with ground stations, just 2.1 km from the lunar surface during its final descent.

Considered as the most complex stage of the country's second expedition to the moon, the Lander was on a powered descent for a soft-landing when it lost the communication.

"Vikram Lander descent was as planned, and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, communication from the lander to ground stations was lost," Sivan had said.

"The data is being analysed", he had added at the Mission Operations Complex at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here.

The successful landing would have made India the fourth country after erstwhile USSR, the US and China to achieve a soft-landing on the moon, also the first to launch a mission to the unexplored south pole of the Moon.

The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is healthy and safe in the Lunar orbit; an ISRO official said after the lander lost contact with ground stations minutes before the touchdown on Moon's surface.

"The orbiter is healthy, intact, functioning normally and safely in the Lunar orbit," the official said. The mission life of the 2,379-kg orbiter is one year.

The orbiter payloads would conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100-km orbit.

Chandrayaan-2, a follow-on mission to the Chandrayaan-1 mission undertaken more than a decade ago, comprises an orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan).

The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon.

ISRO on September 2 successfully carried out the separation of lander Vikram (with rover Pragyan housed inside) from the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter.

'Vikram', named after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of the Indian Space Programme, was designed to execute a soft-landing on the lunar surface and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days.

The rover was to roll down from the lander explore the surrounding lunar terrain, a few hours after the planned soft-landing.

Even as ISRO continues its efforts to restore link with Chandrayaan-2's lander 'Vikram', experts say time is running out and possibility of re-establishing communication looks "less and less probable."



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