India successfully launches Moon Mission-2, enters Earth orbit
Updated 21:35, 22-Jul-2019
India successfully launched its Moon Mission-2, or Chandrayaan-2, on Monday, which had been aborted on July 15 due to a "technical snag."
"GSLV MkIII-M1 lifts-off from Sriharikota carrying Chandrayaan-2," tweeted the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The satellite successfully ejected from the launch vehicle and entered the Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), or the Earth orbit, confirmed the ISRO. "GSLV MkIII-M1 successfully injects Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into Earth Orbit," said ISRO in another tweet.
The rocket "GSLV-Mk-III" carrying the orbiter, lander Vikram and rover Pragyaan took off at 14:43 (Indian Standard Time) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, off the Bay of Bengal coast located in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The Lander and the Rover are expected to touch down near the Lunar South Pole in early September, becoming the first ever spacecraft to land in that region. The Lunar South Pole remains unexplored till date.
If successfully carried out, India would become the fourth country, following the U.S., Russia and China, to make a soft landing on the moon surface.
The lunar mission at nearly 150 million U.S. dollars aims to gather data on water, minerals and rock formations on the lunar surface.
Earlier on Monday, scientists of the ISRO offered prayers at temples near the base and said there would be no repeat of last week's problem. According to ISRO, weighing around 640 tons, the rocket GSLV-Mk-III is 44 meters long or as tall as a 15-story building. Known as India's heaviest and biggest rocket, it has the capacity of launching satellites weighing as much as four tons.