Chandrayaan 2: Lost communication link with Vikram to be investigation by newly-formed national committee

A recent update confirmed that the orbiter is performing well, its instruments tested and ready to relay data over its 7-year mission life.


A national committee made up of academics and ISRO experts are looking into why the Vikram lander lost communication with the Chandrayaan 2 lander ahead of its planned soft landing on the moon. The Indian Space Research Organisation said the Chandrayaan 2 mission's orbiter is performing well in its final orbit, with its instruments tested and ready to relay images it captures over its extended 7-year mission life.

"All Payloads of orbiter are powered. Initial trials for orbiter payloads are completed successfully. Performance of all orbiter payloads is satisfactory. The orbiter continues to perform scheduled science experiments to complete satisfaction," ISRO said in an update on its website.

"National-level committee consisting of academicians and ISRO experts are analysing the cause of communication loss with the lander," it added.

Chandrayaan 2: Lost communication link with Vikram to be investigation by newly-formed national committee

The planned and actual descent trajectory of the Vikram lander is identical til the last 2.1 km stretch of its descent. Image; DD National/ISRO

The Vikram lander, with India's first moon rover Pragyan inside it, lost communication with ground stations in the final minute or two of its descent 7 September, just 2.1 km from the lunar surface. Efforts have been ongoing to re-establish the communication link since, but hopes of success are now fading. The lander and rover were designed to soft-landing on the lunar surface before spending 14 waking Earth days (one lunar day) carrying out its planned experiments. Vikram had a hard-landing.

To date, 90 to 95 percent of the Chandrayaan 2 mission objectives have been accomplished and it will continue contributing to lunar science, notwithstanding the loss of communication with the lander, ISRO said on 7 September.

Chandrayaan 2 is India's Rs 978-crore attempts at sending an unmanned probe to the moon's surface. The satellite alone cost Rs 603 crore, while the GSLV-MkIII launch vehicle Rs 375 crore.

Also read: NASA to process multiple images of Chandrayaan 2 Vikram's landing site snapped by its lunar orbiter