- ISRO continued to make all-out efforts to establish link with Chandrayaan-2’s ‘Vikram’ which is in a single piece, but tilted on moon
- It had a hard-landing very close to the planned (touch-down) site as per the images sent Orbiter, says ISRO
- Vikram, with rover ‘Pragyan’ housed inside it, hit the lunar surface after communication with ground was lost
Not losing hope, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday, has continued to make all-out efforts to establish link with Chandrayaan-2’s ‘Vikram’ lander, now lying on the lunar surface after a hard-landing. Vikram, with rover ‘Pragyan’ housed inside it, hit the lunar surface after communication with the ground-stations was lost during its final descent, just 2.1 km above the lunar surface, in the early hours of Saturday.
Vikram tilted,but in one piece
“It had a hard-landing very close to the planned (touch-down) site as per the images sent by the on-board camera of the orbiter. The lander is there as a single piece, not broken into pieces. It’s in a tilted position,” an ISRO official associated with the mission claimed.
“We are making all-out efforts to see whether communication can be re-established with the lander,” the official said. “An ISRO team is the on the job at ISROTelemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here.”
Communication efforts to continue
Earlier, ISRO Chairman K Sivan had said on Saturday that the space agency would try to restore link with the lander for 14 days, and reiterated the resolve on Sunday after the orbiter’s camera spotted it on the Lunar surface. An ISRO official said: “Unless and until everything is intact (lander), it’s very difficult (to re-establish contact). Chances are less. Only if it had soft-landing, and if all systems functioned, then only communication can be restored. Things are bleak as of now.”
In contrast, another official said, “I will rate it (restoring link) as good,” raising hope that lander springing to life again is not ruled out. The official said the lander generating power is not an issue, as it has “solar panels all around it” and it also has “internal batteries” which “are not used much.”
“But there are limitations. We have experience of recovering spacecraft (which had lost contact) in geostationary orbit. But here (in the case of Vikram), that kind of operational flexibility is not there. Already it’s lying on the surface of the Moon, and we cannot reorient it. Vital thing is antennas will have to be pointed towards the ground station or the orbiter. Such an operation is extremely difficult. At the same time, chances are good and we will have to keep our fingers crossed,” the official said.
What is Vikram Lander?
The Vikram lander is equipped to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days. Its health has been continuously monitored by the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from IDSN. Vikram carried three payloads Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA), Chandra’s Surface Thermo-physical Experiment (ChaSTE) and Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA).
What happened during Vikram’s soft-landing?
Earlier on Saturday morning at 1:50 AM when Vikram was scheduled to land, ISRO’s Deep Space Antenna lost communication with Chandrayaan-2’s lander- Vikram as it descended towards the lunar surface. The lander had descended from 30 km to 2km smoothly. During the final smooth braking stage, it had lost communication with Mission Control. Vikram was aimed at soft-landing on the moon, making India the fourth country to do so.