Vikram lander located
The news of Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander being located on the lunar surface by ISRO on 8 September 2019 has lent a ray of hope among Indians of the space agency re-establishing contact with the module. Netizens expressed a range of sentiments - pride, curiosity, hope and patriotism and many shared pictures of the lander or the Indian tricolour.
- India's bold mission to soft-land on the moon suffered a setback with the 'Vikram' module losing communication with ground stations, just 2.1 km from the lunar surface during its final descent in the early hours of 7 September 2019.
- Considered as the "most complex" stage of the country's second expedition to the moon, the lander was on a powered decent for a soft landing when it lost contact.
- The image of the lander's rover 'Pragyan' is housed inside it was captured by the camera of Chandrayaan-2's orbiter, which is healthy, safe and functioning normally in the intended orbit around the Moon, the space agency said.
- In the early hours of 7 September 2019, countless Indians had sat glued to their television sets, praying for a successful landing of Vikram, but it soon turned into a heartbreak despite the module coming tantalising close to the lunar surface.
- The 1,471-kg lander of Chandrayaan 2 — the first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology — is named Vikram after Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme.
- The lander was designed to execute a soft-landing and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days.
- The 27-kg Pragyan (which translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit) is a six-wheeled robotic vehicle. It is designed to travel up to 500 metres from the landing spot and leverage solar energy for its functioning.
- The lander carried three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments, while the rover carried two payloads to enhance our understanding of the lunar surface.
- The mission life of the orbiter will be one year while that of the rover was to be one lunar day which is equal to 14 earth days.
- The Vikram Lander, carrying the Pragyaan Rover, had separated from the orbiter on September 3. The orbiter was functioning normally.
- The orbiter, which weighs nearly 2,379 kg, is expected to go around the moon for one year. Its payloads will conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100 km orbit.
- The Orbiter is tasked with taking pictures of the moon and relaying them back to ISRO to help scan and map the lunar surface for further experiments.
- The Vikram Lander lost contact 13 minutes after its descent. It failed to bring down its speed from around 6,048 km per hour to about 7 km per hour.