New Delhi, November 21: Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft's Vikram lander made a hard-landing on the moon surface on September 7, said the government for the first time on record. So far, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has maintained that it lost contact with Vikram lander when it was 355 metres above the moon. However, it is widely believed that Vikram had crash-landed on the lunar surface while attempting a soft-landing. Chandrayaan 2 Shares First Picture of Moon: ISRO Tweets the Image Captured by Vikram Lander.
Replying to a question posed to the Department of Space in Lok Sabha, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh said that the "reduction in velocity" of the Vikram lander during the final phase of its descent on the moon’s surface "was more than the designed value". As a result, Vikram "hard-landed" on the moon "within 500 metres of the designated landing site”, he said.
On July 22, India's heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) launched the Rs 978-crore Chandrayaan 2 into space. The spacecraft was initially scheduled to be launched on July 15. The Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft comprised three segments -- the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), Vikram (1,471 kg, four payloads) and Pragyan (27 kg, two payloads). On September 2, Vikram separated from the orbiter. It made a historic landing attempt on September 7.
"The first phase of descent was performed nominally from an altitude of 30 km to 7.4 km above the moon surface. The velocity was reduced from 1,683 m/s to 146 m/s. During the second phase of descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value. Due to this deviation, the initial conditions at the start of the fine braking phase (final phase below 7.4 km altitude) were beyond the designed parameters. As a result, Vikram hard-landed within 500 m of the designated landing site," read Singh's response.
"Most of the components of technology demonstration, including the launch, orbital critical manoeuvres, lander separation, de-boost and rough braking phase were successfully accomplished. With regards to scientific objectives, all the eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments of the Orbiter are performing as per the design and providing valuable scientific data. Due to the precise launch and orbital manoeuvres, the mission life of the Orbiter is increased to seven years. The data received from the Orbiter is being provided continuously to the scientific community. The same was recently reviewed in an all-India user meet organised in New Delhi,” the minister added.