Chandrayaan 2: India's moon mission faces a big setback

Chandrayaan 2: India's moon mission faces a big setback

NEW DELHI - India's ambitious lunar probe mission, Chandrayaan 2 faces a big setback yet again.

Technical glitches has postponed the launch for next year. After several delays, the launch date of Chandrayaan-2 was finally set in October but it has now been shifted to next year.

The new delay may give Israel a chance to become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the moon's surface. Israel, through a non-profit group named SpaceIL, plans to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon in February in the first landing of its kind since 2013.

So far, only four countries - the US, Russi and China - have successfully landed rovers on Moon with last being China's Chang'e 3 in December 2013. If Indian ISRO is successful in its 'Chandrayaan-2' mission before February, India will be only the fourth country to do so.

However, it is unlikely that ISRO would succeed in beating Israel. According to an NDTV report, the launch date for Chandryaan-2 "is slipping to 2019", Dr M Annadurai, Director of UR Rao Satellite Centre said. ISRO now plans to land the rover in February next year and rocket launch is likely to take place in January.

Dr Annadurai said that the mission will now use GSLV MK-III rocket instead of GSLV MK-II as the weight of the Chandrayaan-2 rover has increased.

"The rover is also being tested in a simulated lunar terrain environment. All things put together we will be able to manage end of this year to roll out all the three combinations from the ISRO Satellite Center in Bengaluru to Sriharikota," Dr Annadurai told the TV channel.