India launches second Moon mission

Mon 22 Jul 2019 19:34 GMT | 23:34 Local Time

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India`s mission to the moon has blasted into space one week after a technical glitch forced scientists to abruptly halt its scheduled launch, according to The Guardian.

Thousands gathered to watch Chandrayaan-2 take off at a 2.43pm local time on Monday from Satish Dhawan space center in Sriharikota, north of Chennai.

Last Monday, the unmanned mission was aborted 56 minutes from takeoff. The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) blamed a “technical snag”.

In a speech after the launch, Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of Isro, said the agency’s staff had worked tirelessly to fix the fault and had “bounced back with flying colors”.

“It is the beginning of a historical journey of India towards the moon, and to land at a place near the south pole to carry out scientific experiments to explore the unexplored,” said Sivan.

With India poised to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ardently nationalist government is eager to show off the country’s prowess in security and technology.

Chandrayaan-2 aims to become the first mission to conduct a surface landing on the lunar south pole region, where it will collect crucial information about the moon’s composition. It would be India’s first surface landing on the moon – a feat previously achieved by only Russia, the US, and China.

The $141m (£113m) mission is a “demonstration of the growing sophistication of India’s space power”, said Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of the nuclear and space policy initiative at the Observer Research Foundation thinktank in Delhi.

India launched its first lunar probe in 2008 and guided a spacecraft into orbit around Mars in 2014.

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