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India reschedules launch of its moon mission for Monday

July 18, 2019
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This July 2019, photo released by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) shows its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII-M1 at its launch pad in Sriharikota, an island off India's south-eastern coast. India’s space agency says it will launch its spacecraft to the south pole of the moon on July 22 after an aborted effort originally scheduled for July 15. (Indian Space Research Organization via AP)
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This July 2019, photo released by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) shows its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII-M1 at its launch pad in Sriharikota, an island off India's south-eastern coast. India’s space agency says it will launch its spacecraft to the south pole of the moon on July 22 after an aborted effort originally scheduled for July 15. (Indian Space Research Organization via AP)

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.

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