India reschedules launch of its moon mission for Monday
CHENNAI, India (AP) — India’s space agency said it will launch a spacecraft to the south pole of the moon on Monday after stopping an attempt this week.
The Indian Space Research Organization said the Chandrayaan-2 launch is now set at 2:43 p.m. on Monday. It said Thursday that the cause of the previous technical snag had been identified and corrected.
The earlier launch attempt on Monday was called off less than an hour before the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher lifted off.
Chandrayaan, the Sanskrit word for “moon craft,” is designed to land on the lunar south pole and send a rover to explore water deposits that were confirmed by a previous mission that orbited the moon.
Dr. K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said that the around $140 million Chandrayaan-2 mission was the nation’s most prestigious to date, in part because of the technical complexities of landing on the lunar surface — an event he described as “15 terrifying minutes.”
If India did manage the landing, it would be only the fourth country to do so after the U.S., Russia and China.