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August 17, 2019
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India set to re-attempt launch of its moon mission

NEW DELHI: India is going to launch of its second lunar mission after its scheduled blast-off was cancelled due to a technical snag.

Chandrayaan-2 will be launched at 14:43 local time (09:13 GMT) on Monday, space agency Isro said.

It added the spacecraft was ready “to take a billion dreams to the Moon – now stronger than ever before”.

The agency said that the mission will be the first to land on the Moon’s south pole.

The countdown on 15 July was stopped 56 minutes before launch after a “technical snag was observed in [the] launch vehicle system”, according to Isro.

Indian media have reported that a leak from a helium gas bottle in the cryogenic engine of the rocket was the reason to halt the launch.

India’s first lunar mission in 2008 – Chandrayaan-1 – did not land on the lunar surface, but it carried out the first and most detailed search for water on the Moon using radars.

Chandrayaan-2 (Moon vehicle 2) will try to land near the little-explored south pole of the Moon.

The mission will focus on the lunar surface, searching for water and minerals and measuring moonquakes, among other things.

India is using its most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), in this mission. It weighs 640 tonnes (almost 1.5 times the weight of a fully-loaded 747 jumbo jet) and at 44 metres (144ft) is as high as a 14-storey building.

The spacecraft weighs 2.379kg (5.244lb) and has three distinct parts: an orbiter, a lander and a rover.

The orbiter, which has a mission life of a year, will take images of the lunar surface, and “sniff” the tenuous atmosphere.