22/07/2019 8:08 AM IST | Updated 22/07/2019 5:07 PM IST

Chandrayaan-2 Lifts Off, ISRO Chief Calls It 'Beginning of India’s Historic Journey'

ISRO says Chandrayaan-2 is taking a billion dreams to the Moon.

ARUN SANKAR via Getty Images

ISRO successfully launched Chandrayaan-2, India’s second moon mission, on Monday afternoon at 2.43pm from the second launchpad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

The mission seeks to explore the unchartered Lunar south pole, by landing a rover onboard its most powerful rocket GSLV-Mk0III-M1.

The Rs 978 crore mission had been rescheduled a week after the lift-off was aborted last Sunday due to a technical snag.


3.32pm: Proud moment for all Indians, says President Kovind


3.28 pm: National Film Archive shares poster of ‘Chand Par Chadhai’ in honour of the launch


3.26 pm: PM Modi hails successful launch


3.12 pm: Beginning of India’s historic journey to Moon, says Sivan

“It is the beginning of India’s historic journey to Moon,” ISRO chief K Sivan says after the launch.

“The mission was possible only because of the hard work of technicians and scientists. The last one-and-a-half years team they burnt the midnight oil,” he says.

3.08 pm: ISRO chief congratulates scientists

The GSLVMkIII-M1 successfully injects Chandrayaan 2 into Earth’s Orbit. ISRO chief congratulates scientists.


3.06: Twitter celebrates the successful launch




3.02 pm: L-110 ignites and the S200 rockets separate from the main rocket


3.01 pm: Watch the moment the Chandrayaan-2 launched


2.50 pm: The next few minutes

About 16.20 minutes after the lift-off, the GSLV rocket will inject Chandrayan-2 into 170 km x 39059 kms Earth orbit.

From then onwards, the mission will witness a series of manoeuvres by scientists to carry out different phases of the mission over the next 48 days.

2.44 pm: We have liftoff!

ISRO has Chandrayaan-2 has launched.

2.42 pm: Cloudy skies

Doordarshan says the sky above the launchpad is cloudy.

2.32 pm: Launch authorised by Mission Director


2.26 pm: India looks to make history

The success of this mission will make India the fourth country to soft land a rover on the lunar surface after Russia, US and China.

2.15 pm: Less than 1 hour to go, watch livestream here




1.31 pm: Watch how the full mission will pan out over the next few months 


1.24 pm: ISRO’s latest update 


1.06 pm: India’s most powerful launcher

The GSLVMkIII is India’s most powerful launcher to date and has been completely designed and fabricated from within the country, according to the Press Information Bureaue.


12.37 pm: Over 5,000 people to watch from near launchpad

The launch would be witnessed by nearly 5,000 people who will be accommodated at a viewing gallery, located a few kms from the launchpad, thrown open to the public by the ISRO in May last.

12.10 pm: Filling of liquid hydrogen commences


11.21 am: People gather to watch the launch


10.30 am: ISRO is filling liquid oxygen in the satellite vehicle


7.58 am: Countdown to launch at 2.43 pm

A 20-hour countdown for the launch began at 6.43 pm Sunday, ISRO announced. 


7.46 am: Glitches rectified, says ISRO

On the eve of the launch, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said all preparations were on and the glitch had been rectified.

“Whatever technical snag we observed on July 15 has been rectified. The vehicle is in good health... The (pre-launch) rehearsal has been successfully completed,” he told reporters at the Chennai airport on brief a stopover enroute to Sriharikota. 

7.31 am: Launch rehearsal completed

ISRO said on Saturday it had completed the launch rehearsal of GSLV Mark III-M1, the launch vehicle of Chandrayaan 2, and its performance is normal. 

About Chandrayaan

Chandrayaan-2 comes 11 years after ISRO’s successful first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 which scripted history by making more than 3,400 orbits around the Moon and was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009.

The 43.43m tall three-stage rocket dubbed ‘Baahubali’ for its ability to carry heavy payloads would blast-off carrying Chandrayaan-2 and inject the spacecraft into Earth orbit about 16 minutes later.

After lift-off, the 3,850 kg Chandrayaan-2, comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, will undergo 15 crucial manoeuvres before landing on the Moon, expected by the first week of September, K Sivan said.

Scientists would make soft landing of the lander in the South Pole region of the Moon where no country has gone so far, the ISRO chief said.

Chandrayaan-2 is billed as the most complex and prestigious mission undertaken by the ISRO since its inception.

What happens after the launch? 

About 16.20 minutes after the lift-off, the GSLV rocket will inject Chandrayan-2 into 170 km x 39059 kms Earth orbit.

From then onwards, the mission will witness a series of manoeuvres by scientists to carry out different phases of the mission over the next 48 days.

Subsequent to the rescheduling of the launch, the space agency has tweaked the orbital phases, increasing Earth-bound phase to 23 days as against 17 days planned originally.

At the end of the Earth-bound phase, the orbit of the spacecraft will be finally raised to over 1.05 lakh km before nudging it into the Lunar Transfer Trajectory taking it to the proximity of Moon in the next two days.

Then gradually over the next few days it will be brought to 100 X 100 km circular orbit when the lander will separate and after another few days of orbiting it will make a soft landing at a chosen place on the Lunar surface.

The soft landing of the lander - Vikram carrying rover ‘Pragyan’, one of the toughest phases of the mission and described by the ISRO chief as “15 minutes of terror (filled moments), will be attempted between September 6-8.

“Chandrayaan-2 is the next leap in technology as we attempt to soft land close to South Pole of Moon. The soft landing is extremely complex and we will experience approximately 15 minutes of terror,” he had said earlier.

Technical snag on last attempt

ISRO encountered the snag on July 15 when the liquid propellant was being loaded into the rocket’s indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine.

Veteran scientists heaped praise on ISRO for calling off the launch rather hurrying into a major disaster.

President Ram Nath Kovind was present on 15 July to witness the launch.

The launch of Chandrayaan-2 had missed its date earlier too when it was fixed for the first week of January. But it was shifted to July 15.

Why land on the south pole of the moon?

According to ISRO, the lunar South Pole is an interesting surface area which remains in shadow than North pole. There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it, the agency said, adding craters in the South Pole region have cold traps and contain fossil record of the early solar system.

The lander ‘Vikram’, named after father of Indian space research programme Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, carrying the rover ‘Pragyan’, will be landed in a high plain between two craters at a latitude of about 70 degrees South of the moon.

Then the 27-kg ‘Pragyan’ meaning ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit and a six-wheeled robotic vehicle, will set out on its job of collecting information on lunar surface.

A safe site free of hazards for landing would be decided based on pictures sent back by the camera onboard the lander and after touchdown the rover will carry out experiments for 14 Earth days, equals one Lunar Day.

Payloads on the mission

The mission, which carries a total of 13 payloads, including three from the Europe, two from the US and one Bulgaria, seeks to improve understanding of the Moon which could lead to discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole.

A Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) of US space agency NASA is among the payloads and is aimed at understanding dynamics of Earth’s Moon system and deriving clues on Lunar interior.

Sivan Sunday said Chandrayaan-1 revealed the presence of water molecules and similarly there were possibilities of the latest mission returning successful scientific experiments.

“It is because of these reasons that Chandrayaan-2 has attracted attention not only from the Indian scientists but also from global scientists,” he said.

(With inputs from Associated Press)

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