The lander of the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft had made a hard landing on the moon as its velocity reduced during descent, the government told Parliament on Wednesday. The Vikram lander had attempted a soft landing on the moon on September 7, but lost communication with the Indian Space Research Organisation minutes before touchdown.
Jitendra Singh, the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, said the first phase of descent was performed from an altitude of 30 km to 7.4 km above the moon’s surface and the velocity was reduced from 1,683 metres per second to 146 metres per second. “During the second phase of descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value,” he said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. “Due to this deviation, the initial conditions at the start of the fine braking phase were beyond the designed parameters. As a result, Vikram hard-landed within 500 metres of the designated landing site.”
The Centre’s position matches with that of the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration. On September 27, NASA said the Chandrayaan-2 lander had made a “hard landing” on the moon’s surface. The agency released images of the targeted landing site.
Singh, however, said the mission life of the orbiter has been increased to seven years because of the precise launch and orbital manoeuvres. All the eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments of the orbiter were performing according to the design and were providing data, he added.