Hopes Fading On Re-Establishing Link With Lander Vikram, Says ISRO
K Sivan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, speaks during a news conference in Bengaluru. (Photographer: Karen Dias/Bloomberg)

Hopes Fading On Re-Establishing Link With Lander Vikram, Says ISRO

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India’s premier space agency is continuing its efforts to restore link with Chandrayaan-2’s lander ‘Vikram’, but experts say time is running out and possibility of re-establishing communication looks “less and less probable”.

Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Sivan said yesterday the space agency will try to establish link with the lander for 14 days.

After lander Vikram was located on the lunar surface by Chandrayaan-2’s on-board cameras on Sunday, he reiterated those efforts would continue.

A senior official associated with the mission, said on the condition of anonymity that progressively, it’s difficult to establish link. The official said that with right orientation the rover can still generate power and recharge batteries with solar panels.

Also read: Located Lander ‘Vikram’ On Lunar Surface, Says ISRO Chairman K Sivan

Another senior ISRO official said requesting anonymity that “hard-landing” of Vikram on the lunar surface has made the task of linking again with it that more difficult as it may not have the right orientation, and may not have landed on its four legs.

The official said impact shock may have caused damage to the lander—which was designed to execute a soft landing on the lunar surface, and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days.

Contact from the lander to the ground stations was lost during its powered descent to the Lunar surface minutes before the planned touch-down in the early hours of Satuday. The 1,471-kg lander of Chandrayaan-2—first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology—is named after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme.

Also read: NASA Lauds India’s Chandrayaan-2 Mission, Ready To Jointly Explore Solar System With ISRO

Chandrayaan-2's 27-kg rover is a six-wheeled robotic vehicle named Pragyan, which translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, and is housed inside the lander. 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, according to ISRO.

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