Chandrayaan 2: Terrifying Last Moments Of India's Moon Lander Vikram

Lander Vikram begins its descent from at altitude of 30 km from the lunar surface at a velocity of 1,680 metres per second (m/s).

Chandrayaan 2: Terrifying Last Moments Of India's Moon Lander Vikram
Bengaluru: Live telecast of soft landing of Vikram module of Chandrayaan 2 on lunar surface, in Bengaluru, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (PTI Photo)
By: Agencies
Updated: 07 Sep 2019 07:05 PM
NEW DELHI: "It is going to be 15 terrifying minutes", said K.Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) speaking about the Indias Moon lander Vikram''s landing operations. Sivan''s words turned true towards the end of Vikram''s landing process after it tumbled and regained its posture and then lost its communication links with ISRO.

Here are the "terrifying" moments:


1.38 a.m. Lander Vikram begins its descent from at altitude of 30 km from the lunar surface at a velocity of 1,680 metres per second (m/s).

The rough braking operations began to kill the lander''s velocity. The velocity started to come down to 1,300 m/s, to 760 m/s and further lower.

1.50 a.m. Rough or brute braking phase got over. The lander Vikram was at an altitude of about 5 km. The fine breaking phase began.

When the lander was at an altitude of about 3 km, there was a slight deviation from its plotted path. The Vikram had tumbled and regained its position. The results of fine breaking phase were awaited.

2 a.m. There was silence and unease at the mission control centre.

2.07 a.m. Communication between lander and Chandrayaan-2 orbiter switched on. ISRO Chairman Sivan briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the mission control centre about the problem.

2.10 a.m. ISRO Chairman Sivan gave the bad news. He said the performance of the lander was as per the plan till it was 2.1 km away from its designated landing spot on the Moon''s South Pole. After that communication links got snapped.

Then the mood turned gloomy at ISRO.

After a pep talk to scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday gave a long and tight hug to an emotional ISRO chief K Sivan, who was in tears, unable to come to terms over lander Vikram's unsuccessful bid to soft land on the moon.

The video of Modi hugging Sivan has gone viral on social media with netizens dubbing it as the hug of over a billion Indians and heaping praises on both.

Renowned personalities too could not stop themselves from hailing the prime minister's kind gesture.

Modi, in his address at the ISRO centre here, asked the scientists not to get disheartened by the hurdles in the lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 and asserted that there will be a "new dawn".

No sooner than the prime minister concluded his address, Sivan accompanied him to see him off.

At this juncture, the prime minister, who was on his way to get into his car, gave him a "reassuring" and tight hug, lending his shoulder to teary-eyed Sivan.

The prime minister embraced Sivan as he made no secret of his deep disappointment as the ambitious venture did not pan out as intended.

Modi also said in his address that the country's determination to land on the moon has become even stronger.

"We came very close, but we need to cover more ground...Learnings from today will make us stronger and better," he told the scientists, adding, "The best is yet to come in our space programme. India is with you."

Earlier, Sivan, who his colleagues say is a task-master but a simple and genial individual, announced -- his voice choking -- that the lander had lost communication with the ground stations, and the data was being analysed.

The prime minister was present at the ISRO centre to witness the touchdown early Saturday and returned less than six hours later to address scientists and the nation at 8 am.

SHOP BY CATEGORIES

         
GET THE APP