It was heartbreaking for not only the scientists but for every India when the anticipated moon mission was stopped seconds before it was supposed to touch down on the Moon’s surface early on Saturday. The Lander Vikram of Chandrayaan-2 lost its communication link with the ISRO’s Deep Space Network and the mission control centre in Bengaluru at an altitude of 2.1 kilometres from the lunar surface.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was watching the landing from the mission control room, who was briefed by ISRO scientists about the situation told the scientists, “There are ups and downs in life. This is not a small achievement. The nation is proud of you. Wish you the very best. I congratulate you. You all have done a big service to the nation, science and mankind. I am with you all the way, move forward bravely,”
The powered descent of the lander started early this morning at 1 hour 38 minutes 3 seconds when the Lander arrived at the point of 35 kilometres from the lunar surface. It was going on in a very close match with proposed path till the fine breaking stage. Afterwards, its path deviated from the predicted path.
Earlier, the Moon lander Vikram separated from its orbiting mothership and performed a series of manoeuvres to lower its altitude for a perfect touchdown between 1:30 am and 2:30 am. It used rocket thrusters to slow itself down to attempt the extremely tricky operation that ISRO called “15 minutes of terror”. It was at this point, about 2.1 km from the surface, that contact was lost.
Later, ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan announced that the powered descent of the lander Vikram has been normal till reaching the altitude of 2.1 km and that subsequently, the communication from the Lander was lost. He said the data is being analysed.