The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Thursday that India could try a ‘soft landing’ on the moon once again, possibly in November next year. It is noteworthy that Vikram Lander’s ‘soft landing’ of Chandrayaan-2 on the moon failed two months ago on 7 September.
ISRO had constituted a high-level committee to prepare a report on the proposed Chandrayaan-3 under the leadership of S Somnath, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, which is responsible for all launch vehicle programmes.
ISRO issues guidelines
A senior ISRO official said, “The report of the committee is awaited. The committee has been given guidelines for mission preparation before the end of next year.” He said, “November is a good time for the launch.”
Sources in the space agency said, “This time, more attention will be paid to the rover, lander and landing missions and the flaws in Chandrayaan-2 will be rectified.”
ISRO on 7 September had tried to make its previous mission to the moon land near the south pole of the natural satellite. It attempted a soft landing, but minutes before the landing, the ground stations lost track of the vehicle. It was later found that lander Vikram had crashed on the moon surface and was placed at an angle that made communication with the earth near impossible. However, the orbiter is in fine health and is sending signals to the ground stations.
A national-level committee of scientists and ISRO experts led by V Narayanan, director of the Centre for Liquid Propulsion Systems of the space agency, has analysed the reasons for the breakdown of contact with the lander.
The committee consists of members of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and UR Rao Satellite Centre. An ISRO official said, “This committee has worked on the exact reasons for what went wrong. They have prepared a detailed report.”
The report has been submitted to the Space Commission.