THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: What exactly went wrong in those last few minutes when Chandrayaan-2 was attempting to soft-land on the lunar surface can be known only after the ongoing inquiry, said Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian in space. Wing Commander Sharma was speaking on the sidelines of the APJ Abdul Kalam Lecture at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) here on Friday.
Terming Chandrayaan-2 a “wonderful mission”, Sharma felt that despite the issues with the Vikram lander, the country can be proud of its achievement through Chandrayaan-2. The ups and downs faced while trying to successfully complete the mission are very much part of the research and development activity, an important and integral part of the learning curve, was how he chose to interpret it.
“Like many others, I too slept around 4 am. All of us are proud of what we have achieved through the mission. Now we need to wait for the inquiry to be completed,” he added. During an earlier interaction with IIST students, Sharma shared his experiences of being selected for the space mission. At the time, he was a test pilot with the Indian Air Force and his selection was a real surprise even for him.
“There was a rumour doing the rounds that a secret mission was being undertaken. When asked whether we would be interested to volunteer for the same, all of us were more than eager,” he recalled.
When a student wanted to know what he had first looked for from space, Rakesh Sharma said it was India that he first saw from outer space.
Rakesh Sharma said he himself had felt that his manned mission had happened a bit too early.
Had he been lucky enough to be part of the upcoming Gaganyaan mission—ISRO’s ambitious manned mission—he would have undoubtedly been a career astronaut. In such a scenario, he could have looked forward to more space missions in future.