With the launch of its Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, India is planning to join an exclusive group of countries that have successfully landed on the Moon.
This photo released by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) shows its Geosynchronous Satellite launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII carrying Chandrayaan-2 lift off from Satish Dhawan Space center in Sriharikota, India, Monday, July 22, 2019.
A candid admission about Chandrayaan-2 being the most complex and challenging mission attempted by Isro, and about those "15 terrifying minutes" by chairman K. Sivan, mirrors the hard tasks involved in the descent of the lander "Vikram" and rover "Pragyan" from Chandrayaan-2 to the touchdown spot close to the moon's south pole.
Seconds after launch, Twitter was flooded with congratulatory tweets with posts from the President of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar, and many others.
According to the mission's new schedule, Chandrayaan-2 will spend 23 days orbiting Earth, gradually raising its altitude on one side of an elliptical orbit around the planet.
The launch is only the beginning of a 384,000km (239,000-mile) journey - Isro is hoping the lander will touch down on the Moon on 6 or 7 September.
Reacting to the successful launch, he said "ISRO has been very cautious, ready to take any criticism and has rightly come up with a smooth and fantastic launch". Chandrayaan-1, the country's first moon mission in 2008, only contained an orbiter and impactor created to slam into the lunar surface. A successful touchdown would make India the fourth country to achieve a lunar landing after the US, the former Soviet Union and China.
A total number of 38 soft landing attempts have been made so far. The remedy of the obstacle and launch prompted the head of India's space missions to say that his agency "had bounced back with flying colors" after the abort of the initial launch.
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GSLV-Mk III cost Rs 375 crore and Chandrayaan-2 Rs 603 crore.
The rocket carried an orbiter, a lander and a rover, and has been nearly entirely designed and made in India.
The mission also comes at an important time for Indian space efforts, Namrata Goswami, an independent analyst on space policy, told SpaceNews.
But years later even the U.S. space agency, NASA, acknowledged ISRO's finding.
India is, "re-branding the mission within the space resources discourse that has animated space policy, both within the USA and China, by its plan to land very close to the lunar south pole", Goswami says.
The spacecraft has successfully entered the earth's orbit, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. If that landing is successful, India will become only the fourth nation to ever land an intact vehicle on the moon.
India put a satellite into orbit around Mars in the nation's first interplanetary mission in 2013 and 2014.
India is seeking to join an elite club of the former Soviet Union, the US and China in making a soft landing on the moon, in which vehicles touch down without damage. Baahubali director SS Rajamouli was also among the celebrities who tweeted about India's brilliant achievement with Chandrayaan 2.
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