Ahead Of Chandrayaan Take 2, ISRO’s Track Record Inspires Confidence


Despite the recent disappointment of an aborted launch for its high-profile lunar mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO’s track record remains one of the most enviable among space agencies.

GSLV Mark III, the rocket that is being used for the Chandrayaan-2 mission, has had a 100 per cent success rate with two consecutively successful launches and one sub-orbital flight.

The massive rocket, dubbed “Baahubali”, is totally different from its predecessor GSLV Mark II, which had a patchy record earning it the moniker of ISRO’s “Naughty Boy”.

The smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV too has had its share of triumphs with 46 successful launches at a time when Elon Musk-led SpaceX and even the Russian Soyuz have had failures.

Dr K Kasturiraangan, former Chairman of ISRO says, “The Indian space agency is highly regarded the world over for its innovative and frugal launches, reaching the moon and Mars in maiden attempts has made ISRO world’s envy, India’s pride.”

ISRO is known to learn from its mistakes and it bounced back stronger after setbacks and failures. The Cryogenic Engine continues to give gripe to ISRO which has been trying to master this complex technology for the last twenty years.

India’s ambitious second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, is set to lift off at 2:43 pm on Monday with scientists resolving the technical glitch in the GSLV Mark III rocket that led to the aborting of the launch this week. The launch rehearsal was successful, ISRO announced on Saturday.

In an update on its website, ISRO had said that remedial action had been taken based on the findings of a committee formed by it to analyse the cause of the glitch following which the rocket performance was ”normal”.

The glitch had led to an abrupt suspension of the launch countdown with 56.24 minutes left for the blast-off at 2.51 am on Monday.

The snag took place when liquid propellant was being loaded in the rocket’s indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine.

Scientists have praised ISRO for calling off the launch rather hurrying into a major disaster.

The 3,850 kg Chandrayaan-2, a three-component spacecraft comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, will explore the unchartered lunar south pole. The mission comes 11 years after ISRO’s successful first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 which made history by making more than 3,400 orbits around the moon and was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009.

Chandrayaan-2 will take 54 days to accomplish the task of landing on the moon through meticulously planned orbital phases, ISRO has said.

If successful, India would be the fourth country to pull off a soft landing on the moon’s surface after US, Russia and China.

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