Chandrayaan-2: Lander ‘Vikram’s’ landing most crucial and complex in ISRO history


The proposed soft-landing on the Moon on September 7 by the Chandrayaan-2 mission is by far the most complex in ISRO’s history, says its former Chairman G Madhavan Nair, who is 100 per cent sure of its success.

Nair, who spearheaded Chandrayaan-1 mission more than a decade ago,termed ISRO successfully separating lander ‘Vikram’ from Chandrayaan-2 orbiter on Monday as a “great event” and said from now onwards it’s going to be an even tougher job.

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“We are one step closer to having us soft-land on the lunar surface and so far so good; all the mission sequences have gone off well, computation, as well as planning, have worked well and now the lander is in elliptical orbit”, he said.

“From there, it’s really going to be a tough job. On-board cameras will be mapping the terrain, sending the pictures to us. Then we will have to select the appropriate location and see that in the exact location it descends slowly to the surface”, Nair said in an interview to PTI.

“It’s a very, very complex operation. I don’t think any nation has done a similar operation trying to have real-time pictures and then try to have an on-board computer implement autonomously the function of the landing. It’s going to be a remarkable event and we are all looking forward to that event. I am sure it will be a 100 per cent success”, he said.

On soft-landing on the Moon, he said its something like flying saucers coming in hovering on the top and then slowly descending, as in science fiction.

It’s almost a similar sequence which ISRO is going to implement, with practically no real-time controls on the ground.

“…Only on-board cameras would look for the right location and once it matches, there are five rocket engines which will precisely control by first reducing the speed and then making it virtually float at that point and have some lateral movement in such a way that it goes just to the location, slowly guide it to the landing site”,Nair explained.