oppn parties Chandrayaan-2: Heartbreak In The End

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  • Centre sanctions Rs 15000cr for Covid19 emergency response, part of it immediately and the rest over a period of four years in mission mode
  • RBI says Covid-19 has "drastically altered" the growth outlook in India
  • Third coronavirus death in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai
  • Odisha becomes the first state to extend the lockdown until April 30. Schools and colleges in the state to remain closed until June 17th
  • The Supreme Court orders all coronavirus testing, including by private labs, to be done for free, says will look into the matter of reimbursement for private players at a later date
  • Former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar proposes an Indo-Pak ODI series to raise funds for fighting coronavirus
  • Maharashtra government says many Tablighi Jamaat members who attended the Markaz and returned have gone into hiding
  • West Bengal government identifies hotspots in Kolkata and the rest of the state, inclined to extend the lockdown in those places only
  • Prime Minister Modi holds a video conference with floor leaders of opposition parties, hints at extending the lockdown
  • UP seals hotspots and makes masks mandatory
  • Masks made compulsory in Mumbai, violators will be arrested
  • ICMR says an infected person can infect 406 people in 30 days without social distancing and lockdown
  • Stock markets make a smart recovery. Sensex up by record 2476 points on global cues
  • Schools, colleges and shopping malls likely to remain closed for a further period of one month, says empowered group of ministers
  • PM Modi tells BJP workers that India is in for a long battle against the coronavirus and there is no scope to feel tired or defeated
Total Covid-19 cases rise to 5734 on Thursday and the death toll stands at 166, says the health ministry in its daily briefing
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Chandrayaan-2: Heartbreak In The End

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

There was heartbreak at ISRO as the Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram, lost contact with the earth station just 2 kms from landing. The nation, led by Prime Minister Modi, saluted the scientists at ISRO for a mission that nearly achieved a singular feat. But some things are destined not to be achieved easily. Since the scientists could successfully maneuver Chandrayaan-2 right up to the Moon and could launch Pragyan and Vikram after a set of complex maneuvers, the learning curve has expanded enormously. They will obviously find out what went wrong in the end and will make the landing with Chandrayaan-3 after rectifying the mistakes.

With the landing not taking place as planned, ISRO lost an opportunity to conduct its research on the Moon's surface. But the mission was enormously successful in other areas. To begin with, it allowed India to test technologies for deep space mission. The scientists had already made a huge achievement at the launch itself - Chandrayaan-2 was the first operational flight of the indigenously developed Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mark-III) to send up satellites weighing up to four tonnes. The scientists also successfully completed the steps to raise the orbit of Chandrayaan-2 to give it a velocity to escape the earth's gravitational pull. They successfully decoupled Vikram and Pragyan. They succeeded in first putting Vikram in Moon's orbit and then progressively reducing the orbit to bring it closer to its surface and make it ready for the landing.

The next step was to drastically reduce the velocity of Vikram from 6000 kms an hour to ensure a soft landing. The scientists did everything in copybook style and things were going as per plan when suddenly there was a dip in Vikram's flight path and it lost contact with the ground station. This could mean two things: either the braking and communication mechanism faltered in the end or, there might be a kind of 'extra' pull in the Moon's South Polar region where ISRO was trying to make the first-ever landing. The scientists at ISRO will definitely find the cause of the failure and learn from it but they have hugely expanded the frontiers of knowledge about deep space missions - for India and for the rest of the world, with this mission. They need to be saluted for this.