Sriharikota, Jul 22: India on Monday created history by successfully launching the country's second indigenous Chandrayaan II mission to the Moon, which injected the spacecraft into the Earth's orbit a week after its lift-off was aborted due to a technical glitch.
Chandrayaan II, which will explore a region of the Moon where no mission has ever set foot, was launched at 2.43 pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, situated in south coastal Andhra Pradesh, setting in place India's bid to return to the Moon.
The launch came exactly a week after the mission was aborted after a technical fault was detected less than an hour before the launch.
Once the spacecraft was successfully injected into the orbit, ISRO chief K Sivan announced that the Indian space agency had bounced back with "flying colours" after a snag stalled the mission on July 15.
"I am extremely happy to announce that the GSLV MkIII-M1 successfully injected Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft into the Earth's orbit. It is the beginning of a historic journey of India towards the moon and to land at a place near the South Pole to carry out scientific experiments and explore the unexplored," he said.
"After that technical snag we had, we fixed it and now ISRO has bounced back with flying colours," Sivan added, congratulating the entire team on their feat.
Talking about the corrective measures taken during the stalled launch last week, he elaborated, "Immediately after the technical snag was observed, the entire ISRO team swung into action. In fact, the work done in the next day 24 hours was mind-boggling. Quickly the...root cause of the snag was identified and corrected within 24 hours."
"In the next one and a half days, the required tests were conducted to ensure that the corrections made were in the right direction. After confirmation, the vehicle was handed over to the management for action," he said.
Minutes after the launch, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to his Twitter page to share his thoughts.
"Special moments that will be etched in the annals of our glorious history! The launch of #Chandrayaan2 illustrates the prowess of our scientists and the determination of 130 crore Indians to scale new frontiers of science. Every Indian is immensely proud today!" he said.
"Efforts such as #Chandrayaan2 will further encourage our bright youngsters towards science, top quality research and innovation. Thanks to Chandrayaan, India's Lunar Programme will get a substantial boost. Our existing knowledge of the Moon will be significantly enhanced," the Prime Minister added.
Echoing similar sentiments, President Ram Nath Kovind, who had gone to Sriharikota to witness the aborted launch last week, congratulated the scientists and engineers for boosting India's space programme.
"The historic launch of #Chandrayaan2 from Sriharikota is a proud moment for all Indians. Congratulations to our scientists and engineers for furthering India's indigenous space programme. May @ISRO continue to master new technologies, and continue to conquer new frontiers," the President said.
In the run-up to the launch, the ISRO gave regular updates about preparations on its official Twitter handle.
Sivan had previously said that Chandrayaan 2 will perform 15 crucial manoeuvres in the days to come. He added that all the preparatory work regarding the launch had been completed, and technical glitches that developed in the first attempt had been rectified.
The ISRO chief said that the spacecraft will be landing on the moon very slowly. "It will land on the South Pole. There is a lot of scientific testing to be done regarding the mission. Scientists around the world are looking forward to the launch," Sivan had said.
ISRO had successfully completed the launch rehearsal of the Chandrayaan-2 mission on Saturday.
Chandrayaan-2 will explore a region of the Moon where no mission has ever set foot. The spacecraft consists of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover together referred to as "composite body". The probe's total mass is 3.8 ton and is expected to land on the Moon's south polar region on September 6 or 7 this year.
It will be the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface. This mission will make India the fourth country after the United States, Russia, and China to carry out a soft landing on the Moon.
India creates history as Chandrayaan 2 lifts off