Indian Space Research Organisation Chairperson K Sivan on Monday said India had begun a historic journey towards moon with the launch of Chandrayaan-2, the country’s second mission to the moon.
“I am extremely happy to announce that GSLV Mark 3 successfully injected the Chandrayaan 2 into orbit,” Sivan said after the launch, amid cheering from other scientists at the control centre, according to NDTV. “It is the beginning of a historical journey for India.”
The launch was initially scheduled for July 15 but was called off at the eleventh hour due to a technical snag. Scientists at ISRO spent over a day to fix the glitch and reschedule the launch. “We fixed a serious technical snag and ISRO bounced back with flying colours,” Sivan added.
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III-M1 lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 2.43 pm. It injected the 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2 into the Earth’s orbit about 16 minutes later.
If the mission is successful, India will become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon after the United States, Russia and China. A successful landing would make Chandrayaan-2 the first lunar probe on the south polar region of the moon. The agency is aiming to put the lander, called Vikram, and the rover, named Pragyan, on the lunar surface by September 7.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and several other leaders from both the government and the Opposition congratulated ISRO for the successful launch.
Modi said these were “special moments that will be etched in the annals of our glorious history”. “The launch of Chandrayaan 2 illustrates the prowess of our scientists and the determination of 130 crore Indians to scale new frontiers of science,” Modi said in a series of tweets. “Every Indian is immensely proud today!”
“Efforts such as Chandrayaan 2 will further encourage our bright youngsters towards science, top quality research and innovation,” the prime minister added. “Thanks to Chandrayaan, India’s Lunar Programme will get a substantial boost. Our existing knowledge of the Moon will be significantly enhanced.”
President Ram Nath Kovind called the “historic launch” a “proud moment” for Indians. “Congratulations to our scientists and engineers for furthering India’s indigenous space programme,” the president said. “May ISRO continue to master new technologies, and continue to conquer new frontiers.”
Union minister Rajnath Singh said: “Team ISRO scripted a new chapter in India’s space history with the launch of this ambitious and indigenous Mission to Moon. The nation is extremely proud of its scientists and Team ISRO.”
Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal congratulated the space organisation as well as the women who led the team. Two women – Muthayya Vanitha and Ritu Karidhal – are leading the project. Vanitha is responsible for the entire project, while Karidhal will coordinate Chandrayaan-2 after it is injected into orbit.
Several other political leaders as well as film and sports personalities congratulated ISRO for the launch. Here are some other reactions: