India’s attempt of landing a robotic spacecraft near the moon’s the South Pole on Saturday seemed to fail.
The initial parts of the descent went smoothly. But less than 2 miles higher than the surface, the trajectory diverged from the planned path. The control room got completely silent due to the loss of communications from the lander. Reportedly, a staff member was noticed patting the back of K. Sivan, the director of India’s space program. He later declared that the spacecraft was functioning as expected until an altitude of 2.1 kilometers, or 1.3 miles. “The data is being analyzed,” he said.
The country’s bid to hitch an elite club of nations that have landed in one piece on the moon’s surface will be delayed due to the partial failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission. If the spacecraft crashed, although a communication glitch was also possible, it happened during a period that Dr. Sivan had referred to as “15 minutes of terror.” A series of steps had to be completed by computers onboard the space vehicle in the correct sequence, with no chance for do-overs.
Reportedly, this was the third time an effort was made for spacecraft landing on the moon this year. In January, China landed the primary probe ever on the far side of the moon. The lander and related rover are operative since then.
An Israeli nonprofit sent a little robotic space vehicle named Beresheet to the moon, however its landing attempt in April went awry in a manner just like Chandrayaan-2. The initial descent went as planned, but then communications were lost close to the surface.
Later, it came into the attention that a command to shut down the complete engine was sent incorrectly.
In July, Chandrayaan-2 got launched, which took a long, fuel-efficient trajectory to the moon.
Earlier this week, the 3,200-pound lander, named Vikram, after Vikram A. Sarabhai, who is also the father of the Indian space program, separated from the orbiter and maneuverer towards the moon’s surface. Fifteen minutes before the planned landing, the Vikram lander was travelling at more than 2,000 miles per hour at an altitude of about 20 miles. Four of its engines fired to quickly slow it down as it headed toward its landing site on a high, flat plain near the South Pole. Later in the landing method, it appeared that Vikram was descending too quick and so information from the spacecraft terminated.