CHENNAI: One week after the Chandrayaan 2 launch was called off an hour before take-off, the countdown has started again. At 2.43 pm on Monday, the spacecraft is expected to embark on a 3.84-lakh-km journey onboard India’s heaviest rocket GSLV-Mk III, nicknamed Bahubali.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the 20-hour countdown for the first moon-landing mission began at 6.43 pm on Sunday.
The mission was originally scheduled for 2.51 am on July 15, but was postponed after a snag was detected in the launch vehicle an hour before rocket lift-off. ISRO has rectified the fault and completed a successful rehearsal.
The mission, a litmus test for ISRO, is the most complex and technologically challenging space mission undertaken from Indian soil. It will be tracked by the global scientific community as Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008, created history by discovering signs of water on the moon.
The entire journey, classified into nine phases, will take about 47 days. In the earth and lunar phases, the spacecraft will slingshot around the earth and moon before choosing a hazard-free landing site and touch down, tentatively, on September 6-7. If the mission is successful, India will be the fourth country to pull off a soft-landing on the moon, joining the US, Russia and China.