India exults as Vikram is located

    Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander Vikram has been located on the moon’s surface and the ground station is working to establish contact, news reports quoted ISRO chief K Sivan as saying on Sunday.

    The space agency had lost contact with Vikram, one of three components of the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, on Saturday morning while the lander was attempting a historic soft landing near the south pole of the moon. “We’ve found the location of lander Vikram on lunar surface and orbiter has clicked a thermal image of the lander. But there is no communication yet. We are trying to have contact. It will be communicated soon,” Sivan said, adding, “It must have been a hard landing”.

    Sivan also said it was unclear at this stage if the lander had been damaged. India had expected to make space history with the Rs. 1,000-crore Chandrayaan 2 mission.

    Dr Sivan had blamed faulty execution of the last stage of the operation for the loss of communication. “The last part of the operation was not executed in the right manner. It was in that phase that we lost link with the lander, and could not establish contact subsequently,” he said.

    Vikram and lunar rover Pragyan, which is housed inside the lander, were scheduled to operate for one lunar day (equal to 14 Earth days) and carry out a series of surface and sub-surface experiments.

    The lunar orbiter, which is in orbit around the moon, is now expected to be operational for at least seven years and help in the understanding of the moon’s evolution, mapping of its minerals and water molecules in polar regions.

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