In­dia pre­pares to make fresh bid to launch moon rocket on Mon­day

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

In­dia will make a new bid to launch a land­mark mis­sion to the moon on Mon­day, a week af­ter abort­ing lift-off at the last minute be­cause of a fuel leak, of­fi­cials said.

The In­dian Space Re­search Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ISRO) said it had resched­uled the launch of Chan­drayaan-2, or Moon­char­iot-2, for 2:43 pm (0913 GMT) on Mon­day.

In­dia is aim­ing to be­come just the fourth na­tion af­ter Russia, the United States and China to land a space­craft on the moon.

In­dian space chiefs called off the planned launch of the rocket 56 min­utes be­fore blast-off on Mon­day morn­ing be­cause of what ISRO called a “tech­ni­cal snag.”

Me­dia re­ports quoted ISRO sci­en­tists say­ing a he­lium fuel leak had been de­tected.

In­dia has spent about $140 mil­lion on prepa­ra­tions for the pro­ject, which is one of the cheap­est among in­ter­na­tional space pow­ers.

By com­par­i­son, the United States spent about $25 bil­lion – the equiv­a­lent of more than $100 bil­lion in cur­rent prices – on 15 Apollo mis­sions in the 1960s and 1970s.

The rocket will launch from a space cen­ter in Sri­harikota, an is­land off the coast of the south­ern state of Andhra Pradesh.

It will carry an or­biter, lander and a rover which has been al­most en­tirely de­signed and made in In­dia.

The or­biter is meant to keep cir­cling the moon for about one year, tak­ing pic­tures of the sur­face and send­ing back in­for­ma­tion on the at­mos­phere.

A lander named Vikram will take the rover to the sur­face near the lu­nar South Pole.

In­dia’s first lu­nar mis­sion in 2008 – Chan­drayaan-1 – did not land on the moon, but car­ried out a search for wa­ter us­ing radar.

A soft land­ing on the moon would be a huge leap for­ward in In­dia’s space pro­gram, with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi de­ter­mined to launch a manned mis­sion into space by 2022.

In­dia also has am­bi­tions to land a probe on Mars. In 2014, In­dia be­came only the fourth na­tion to put a satel­lite into or­bit around the Red Planet.

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