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Vikram lander is safe, efforts being put to re-establish connection: ISRO

In a massive update, Indian space agency ISRO has claimed that the Vikram lander is safe and has not broken into bits and pieces soon after landing on the moon’s surface. The space agency has confirmed that the Vikram lander is safe after contact was lost with the lander on Friday night, just 2 minutes before landing on the moon.

Vikram lander was 2.1 km from its landing spot when the communication was lost. Meanwhile, ISRO chief Dr K Sivan in an official statement said: “The lander’s trajectory was normal up till 2.1 km after which the connection was lost.”

ISRO has also confirmed that efforts are being put to re-establish connection with the lander while also adding that the lander is in a tilted position.

ISRO was congratulated by scientists and space agencies from nook and corner of the world after a heroic first attempt at landing on the moon.

“It had a hard-landing very close to the planned (touch-down) site as per the images sent by the on-board camera of the orbiter. The lander is there as a single piece, not broken into pieces. It’s in a tilted position,” an ISRO official who is linked with the mission claimed on Monday.

“We are making all-out efforts to see whether communication can be re-established with the lander,” the official said.

“An ISRO team is the on the job at ISROTelemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here.”

For the uninitiated, Chandrayaan-2 comprises an orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan).

It has been learnt that the mission life of the lander and rover is 1 Lunar day, which means 14 earth days.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan had said on Saturday that ISRO would try to restore the connection with the lander for 14 days.

An ISRO official said: “Unless and until everything is intact (lander), it’s very difficult (to re-establish contact). Chances are less. Only if it had soft-landing, and if all systems functioned, then only communication can be restored. Things are bleak as of now.”

“I will rate it (restoring link) as good,” another senior official of the space agency said, raising hope that lander springing to life again is not ruled out.

“But there are limitations. We have experience of recovering spacecraft (which had lost contact) in geostationary orbit. But here (in the case of Vikram), that kind of operational flexibility is not there. Already it’s lying on the surface of the Moon, and we cannot reorient it.

Vital thing is antennas will have to point towards the ground station or the orbiter. Such an operation is extremely difficult. At the same time, chances are good and we will have to keep our fingers crossed,” the official said.

Written by Sagar Abhinandan

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