Asia-Pacific

India loses contact with moon lander minutes from historic touchdown

0:00

Minutes before India's moon mission lander was due to touch down communication was lost, the Indian Space Research Organisation says.

Communications between India's moon mission lander and the ground station have been lost minutes before its scheduled landing, the Indian Space Research Organisation's chairman says.

"The descent was normal and as planned as was observed up to 2.1 kilometres from the surface," chairman Kailasavadivoo  Sivan said.

"The data is being analysed," he added.

ISRO chairman Kailasavadivoo Siva explains the situation.
ISRO chairman Kailasavadivoo Siva explains the situation.
AP

The Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission was launched from a base in southern India on 22 July.

India had hoped to become just the fourth country - after the United States, Russia and China - to successfully land on the Moon.

The country also aimed to be the first to land in the Southern Polar region, an area the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said was "completely unexplored". 

"The Vikram lander descent was (ongoing) as planned and normal performance was observed," Mr Sivan said from the control room at the southern city of Bangalore.

The ISRO orbiter vehicle 'Chandrayaan-2', India's first moon lander, launches.
The ISRO orbiter vehicle 'Chandrayaan-2', India's first moon lander, launches.
Supplied

"Subsequently the communication from the lander to the ground station was lost. The data is being analysed," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who travelled to the Bangalore space centre to watch the landing, told scientists after Mr Sivan's announcement that "what you have done (already) is not a small achievement".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacting after the communication and data were lost from the vikram lander.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacting after the communication and data were lost from the vikram lander.
AP

"Ups and downs keep coming in life. Your hard work has taught us a lot and the entire country is proud of you," he added.

"If the communication (with the lander) starts again... hope for the best... Our journey will carry on. Be strong. I am with you."

ISRO acknowledged before the landing, due to occur at about 1.55am New Delhi time was a complex manoeuvre, with Sivan calling it "15 minutes of terror".

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch