CHENNAI: The moment of truth is here. As clock touches 2.43 pm on Monday, Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will embark on a 3.84 lakh km journey onboard India's heaviest rocket GSLV-MkIII, nicknamed as Bahubali.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials told Express that 20-hour countdown for the first moon landing mission has begun on 6.43 pm on Sunday.
By far, this mission is the most complex and technologically challenging space mission ever undertaken from Indian soil and would be a litmus test for ISRO. The mission would be shouldering a tremendous amount of expectations and keenly watched by the global scientific community as its predecessor Chandrayaan-1 launched in 2008 has created history by discovering signs of water.
Chandrayaan-2 entails the first attempt any nation to make a landing on the moon's mineral-rich south pole.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan said: "Chandrayaan-2 is the next leap in technology as we attempt to soft-land close to the south pole of the moon. The soft landing is extremely complex and we will experience approximately fifteen minutes of terror."
The entire journey would take about 47 days and the mission is classified into nine phases.
The earth and lunar phases, the spacecraft will be taking slingshots around earth and moon to pick the right time for orbit raising and landing, scheduled on September 6-7, would consume about 39 days.
Officials said the spacecraft is likely to move towards the moon on August 24.
Chandrayaan-2 mission was originally scheduled for flight at 2:51 am on July 15.
However, it was postponed after a technical snag was detected in the launch vehicle an hour prior to the rocket lift-off.
Isro later rectified the fault in its 44-metre GSLV-Mk 3 and also successfully completed the launch rehearsal of the Chandrayaan-2 mission launch.
If successful, India would be the fourth country to pull off a soft landing on the moon's surface after US, Russia and China.