We were at the edge of our seats when the Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander was re-located: a spark of hope for millions of folks. Well there’s more edge of the seat news now. Sources within the space agency, have confirmed to multiple media outlets, that the lander and rover are reportedly intact, in a tilted manner.
“We are making all-out efforts to see whether communication can be re-established with the lander”, an ISRO Official remarked.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is constantly making full-scale efforts to reestablish communication with the Vikram Module- currently on the lunar grounds after a hard-landing.
In the early hours last Saturday, India was at the brink of making history, before losing contact with the Pragyan Rover housed inside Vikram due to technical glitches. And all the more agonising, was the fact that it happened just after it made a hard-landing on the moon , 2.1kms above the lunar surface.
On Monday ISRO stated, “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.”
Chandrayaan-2 constitutes an Orbiter, the Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover.
The mission life of Vikram and Pragyan is a single Lunar day, which makes 14 days on earth.
ISRO chief 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.
“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 ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here,” he added.
But what was so exclusive about Vikram? According to ISRO ,Vikram carried three payloads — a Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA), Chandra’s Surface Thermo-physical Experiment (ChaSTE) and Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA).
“I will rate it (restoring link) as good,” a senior official of the space agency remarked, raising hope that lander springing to life again is yet not impossible.
“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 pointed towards the ground station or the orbiter. Such operation is extremely difficult. At the same time, chances are good and we will have to keep our fingers crossed,” the official said.
The official claimed that power generation for Vikram lander is not an issue, as it has “solar panels all around it” and it also has “internal batteries” which “are not used much.” Well, the space community sits tight as ISRO puts in efforts, hoping that the first ever landing attempted on the moon’s south pole, gives tangible results after all.
An engineer with love for literature.