After the incommunicado with Vikram lander in the early hours on Saturday the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials confirmed that the Orbiter is healthy, intact and functional.
“Only 5 per cent of the mission has been lost – Vikram the lander and Pragyan the rover – while the remaining 95 per cent – that is the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter – is orbiting the moon successfully,” told an official of the Indian Space Research Organization to a news agency.
Vikram lander has lost contact with the ground station of the Space Centre in Bengaluru minutes before the touchdown on the lunar surface.
The mission life of the Orbiter weighing 2,379 Kgs is one year. The orbiter payloads will conduct remote sensing observations from a 100 Km orbit.
India’s first moon landing mission Chandryaan-2 was scheduled on Saturday, September 7, between 1.30 am and 2.30 am. However, minutes before the landing, the ground stations at the Space Center lost contact with the Vikram lander.
ISRO Chief K Sivan confirmed that “Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1km. Subsequently, the communication from the lander to ground stations was lost.”
Earlier, the Vikram lander successfully separated from Chandrayaan 2 orbiter at 1.15 hrs IST on September 2. The Orbiter on Chandrayaan 2 continues to orbit the moon in its existing orbit.
Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second mission to the moon, following the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1 that happened on 22nd October 2008.
However, this was India’s first attempt to make a soft landing on the moon surface. Chandrayaan-2 costing Rs. 1000 crore will explore a region of moon where no earlier mission has gone, near the south pole of the Moon.
The landing in the South Polar Region is of great significance as it hasn’t been explored by scientists so far. According to ISRO, the surface area of the South Pole is much larger than the North Pole. Curiously, there is hope for finding traces of water in the permanently shadowed areas around it.
The orbiter is capable of sending the pictures of the moon for a year’s time. The orbiter can also take pictures of the lander that lost contact minutes before landing said IRSO officials.