While ISRO's Vikram Lander lies 'hard-landed' on the lunar surface, ISRO chief K Sivan, on Saturday, has updated the nation about the status of Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter which is currently orbiting the moon, speaking to reporters. He said that the eight instruments in the orbiter are functioning well. Sadly, he also informed that ISRO's efforts to communicate with Vikram Lander have not been fruitful, as the window to establish communication diminishes. Looking forward, he said the Indian Space Agency is focusing to Gaganyaan.
ISRO Chief K Sivan: Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is doing very well. There are 8 instruments in the orbiter & each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do.Regarding the lander, we have not been able to establish communication with it. Our next priority is Gaganyaan mission. pic.twitter.com/eHaWL6e5W1— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2019
Earlier on September 17, NASA's Moon Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured images of the lunar region where Vikram had crash-landed. The spacecraft has snapped a series of images during its flyby of Vikram's attempted landing sight near the Moon's uncharted south pole. It flew over the area of the Vikram landing site when the local lunar time was near dusk. As large shadows covered much of the area, the lander may not be in the camera field of view said LRO Mission deputy project scientist John Keller to PTI. The probability of establishing contact with the lander has a deadline of September 21 because after that the Moon region will enter into a lunar night. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is sending radio signals to Vikram Lander and monitoring India's Lunar orbiter too.
Earlier on Saturday morning at 1:50 AM when Vikram was scheduled to land, ISRO's Deep Space Antenna lost communication with Chandrayaan-2's lander- Vikram as it descended towards the lunar surface. The lander had descended from 30 km to 2km smoothly. During the final smooth braking stage, it had lost communication with Mission Control. Vikram was aimed at soft-landing on the moon, making India the fourth country to do so.
Gaganyaan is ISRO's first crewed space mission with a deadline of 2021, set by PM Modi during his Independence Day speech on August 15. ISRO aims to send a 3-member crew to orbit and safely return to the Earth after a mission duration of up to seven days by 2021. With Gaganyaan India can be the fourth country to send a manned mission to space after Russia (then USSR), the US and China. Prior to sending a crew into space, ISRO plans to send two unmanned missions into the orbit - first one in 2020 and the second one in 2021. The entire mission is estimated to approximately cost about Rs.10,000 crore. Gaganyaan was first conceptualised in 2004.