ISRO: Vikram Lander Located By Chandrayaan-2's Orbiter, All Efforts On

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ISRO updated that the Vikram lander has been located by the orbiter of Chandrayaan 2, which was known to be lying on the lunar surface after a hard-landing.

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Updated On:

ISRO updated that the Vikram lander has been located by the orbiter of Chandrayaan 2, which was known to be lying on the lunar surface after a hard-landing, however, communication is yet to be established. India's space agency further notified that all possible efforts are being made to establish communication with the lander. 

Vikram, with rover 'Pragyan' housed inside it, hit the lunar surface after communication with the ground-stations was lost during its final descent, just 2.1 km above the lunar surface, in the early hours of Saturday. 

ISRO chairman K Sivan had declared the mission close to 100% successful. He stated that Chandrayaan 2 had two aims - science and technology demonstration. Talking about the science part, he said that the Orbiter has achieved the science part. He shared that the Orbiter will share new data about the moon.

Vikram lander tilted on the lunar surface

ISRO announced that "all-out efforts" are being made to establish communication with the lander after learning that Vikram was in a single piece, not broken into pieces, and that is in a tilted position. 

"It had a hard-landing very close to the planned (touch-down) site as per the images sent by the on-board camera of the orbiter. The lander is there as a single piece, not broken into pieces. It's in a tilted position," an ISRO official associated with the mission claimed to PTI.

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"We are making all-out efforts to see whether communication can be re-established with the lander," the official said adding"An ISRO team is the on the job at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC)."

Communication efforts to continue 

Earlier, ISRO Chairman K Sivan had said on Saturday that the space agency would try to restore link with the lander for 14 days, and reiterated the resolve on Sunday after the orbiter's camera spotted it on the Lunar surface. An ISRO official said: "Unless and until everything is intact (lander), it's very difficult (to re-establish contact). Chances are less. Only if it had soft-landing, and if all systems functioned, then only communication can be restored. Things are bleak as of now."

In contrast, another official said, "I will rate it (restoring link) as good," raising hope that lander springing to life again is not ruled out. The official said the lander generating power is not an issue, as it has "solar panels all around it" and it also has "internal batteries" which "are not used much."

"But there are limitations. We have experience of recovering spacecraft (which had lost contact) in geostationary orbit. But here (in the case of Vikram), that kind of operational flexibility is not there. Already it's lying on the surface of the Moon, and we cannot reorient it. Vital thing is antennas will have to be pointed towards the ground station or the orbiter. Such an operation is extremely difficult. At the same time, chances are good and we will have to keep our fingers crossed," the official added.

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What happened during Vikram's soft-landing?

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. 

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