India’s Prime Minister has hailed the nation’s space agency after it launched an unmanned spacecraft to the far side of the moon, a week after aborting the mission due to a technical problem.
Scientists at the mission control centre in Sriharikota, off the Bay of Bengal, burst into applause as the rocket lifted off in clear weather as scheduled at 2.43pm local time on Monday.
Chandrayaan, the Sanskrit word for mooncraft, is designed to land on the lunar south pole in September and send a rover to explore water deposits that were confirmed by a previous mission which orbited the moon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the lunar program will receive a significant boost after the mission.
‘‘Chandrayaan2 is unique because it will explore and perform studies on the south pole region of lunar terrain which is not explored and sampled by any past mission. This mission will offer new knowledge about the Moon,” Mr Modi tweeted.
‘‘Efforts such as
#Chandrayaan2 will further encourage our bright youngsters towards science, top quality research and innovation.’’
Former Test cricketer and now MP Gautam Gambhir was another to express his pride at the accomplishment.
‘‘I always looked up at the moon as a child, wondering what secrets it’s hiding. The successful launch of
#Chandrayaan2 will shed some light on these secrets, & motivate the next gen to help India’s space exploration programme. I congratulate everyone at @ISRO for this success.’’
India’s first moon mission orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water.
India plans to send its first manned spaceflight by 2022.