India’s heaviest rocket GSLV Mk-III, nicknamed 'Bahubali', lifted off successfully from Sriharikota on July 22. The rocket, which is carrying the Chandrayaan-2 mission, was originally planned to lift off on July 15, but the plan was aborted due to a technical glitch, that the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said on Thursday its scientists had resolved.
The rocket lifted off at 2:43 pm IST on Monday, July 22, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, off the coast of Andhra Pradesh. The rocket is carrying a three-component 3,850-kg spacecraft consisting of an orbiter, lander and rover.
Isro Chairman K Sivan called this a historic day for science and technology in India. “I am extremely happy to announce that GSLV-MKIII injected Chandrayaan-2 in the defined orbit which in fact is 6,000 KMS more, which is good.”
“The satellite has more life. It is the beginning of a historical journey for India to land on the moon’s south pole and explore the unexplored. There had been a serious technical snag that we fixed. Team Isro bounced back with flying colors. The team identifed the root cause of the failure in 24 hours. The snag was fixed in 1.5 days and tests were made to check the systems. The expert team was on the job for seven days,” he added.
Sivan said the mantle had now been passed on to the satellite team, which would do 15 crucial manoeuvres over the next 18 months. “It is going to be 15 minutes of terror to safely land Vikram - lander on the south pole of the moon. The world has been waiting for this mission.”
Chandrayaan-2 was originally scheduled to take off in the first week of January but was rescheduled for 2:50 a.m. on July 15. The launch had to be postponed again after a technical snag was observed in GSLV Mk-III, Isro's most powerful and heaviest rocket. Less than an hour before its launch from a spaceport. Isro scientists had put the launch on
hold to assess the seriousness of the problem in GSLV Mk-III, stalling the ambitious Rs 976 crore lunar mission.
"A technical snag was observed in the launch vehicle system an hour before the launch. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today," said Isro on July 15. While Isro did not share the exact reason, officials have said that issue was found to be a mechanical issue, probably in the helium tanks. An expert committee identified the root cause of the snag, after which corrective action was taken.
Isro officials said since the problem was minimal, the snag was easy to resolve, while asserting that had the mission not been aborted it could have lead to a huge loss. If the July launch window were to be missed, the next attempt would have been in September, which would have reduced the mission time. As per the original schedule, the lander was to have been launched on to the Moon on September 6 or 7, after traversing 384,400 km.
Chandrayaan-2 will take 54 days to accomplish the task of landing on to the Moon through meticulously planned orbital phases.
The satellite is supposed to explore the uncharted lunar south pole, 11 years after Isro's successful first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, which made more than 3,400 orbits around the moon and was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009. India's maiden mission, Chandrayaan-1, rewrote lunar geological history by finding traces of water molecules on the Moon's surface.