Chandrayaan 2 Landing: After losing contact with lander Vikram, ISRO awaits analysis

Communication of the Vikram lander with ISRO went silent towards the latter half of its descent.


After a nail-biting descent, the Chandrayaan 2 mission has stalled at a cliffhanger. ISRO appears to have lost contact with the Vikram lander, and is waiting to hear an analysis of data from the lander's final moments from Chandrayaan 2 mission control.

The descent of the spacecraft began normally at 1.38 am. Carried out with the lander's four thrusters, the first leg of the descent and deceleration was performed successfully and as planned, bringing the velocity of the landing module down manyfold.

Chandrayaan 2 Landing: After losing contact with lander Vikram, ISRO awaits analysis

ISRO lost communication with the Vikram lander when it was 2.1 km from the moon’s surface. By this point in the mission, the lander had completed the first 'rough braking' part of its descent, in which four of the module’s propulsion engines were fired at the same time to lower its speed significantly.

The second "fine braking" part of the mission followed, towards the end of which we saw the first sign of something wrong.

The descent trajectory of the Vikram lander shows a deviation in the lander's velocity. Image: ISRO

The descent trajectory of the Vikram lander shows a deviation in the lander's velocity. Image: ISRO

The Chandrayaan 2 orbiter, which is still in good health will be listening to any communication from the lander.

The communication link with the orbiter has been left switched on, in the hope that whatever the news be, ISRO's mission control team is listening for it. The last data from the Vikram lander is currently being analysed, said ISRO chairman K Sivan in a brief announcement.

Also read: Chandrayaan 2 Landing highlights: Communication with the lander has been lost, confirms ISRO chairman

ISRO officials exchanging notes after the Vikram lander fell silent. Image: ISRO

ISRO officials exchanging notes after the Vikram lander fell silent. Image: ISRO

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a pep talk to the scientists, gave Dr K Sivan an encouraging pat in light on the uncertainty, and lauded the efforts of all the scientists and engineers that helped the mission get to the moon.

ISRO had shared a timeline of events for the lander Vikram, which was to land at 1.53 am and the rover Pragyan was scheduled to roll down a ramp at 5.19 am. The first clicks from the rover of Pragyan were expected at 5.45 am.

PM Narendra Modi visited the ISRO Control Centre once again, this time to address the scientists, following the setback of losing communication with the lander. He said, "Everyone stands in solidarity with our scientists. We are proud of our space program." The PM assured the scientists that the nation is with them and they have made an incredible contribution to national progress. Looking ahead, he added, "Our team worked hard, travelled far & these very teachings will remain with us. The learning from today will make us stronger and better."

Following his speech, the PM shook hands with the scientists present at the Control Centre. On his way out, he met and consoled ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan who broke down. His emotions conveyed how all the scientists and the nation felt today.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. We're awaiting a full statement from ISRO on what went wrong with the landing.

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