Chandrayaan 2: ISRO to soon release report on Vikram lander

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Chandrayaan-2 Vikram Lander Update: A report citing the reasons for the failure in making the soft-landing is soon to be presented by an internal ISRO committee. The Indian Space Research Organization faced a major glitch in landing its lunar probe in the south polar region of the Moon on September 7. The space agency made an unsuccessful soft landing attempt on the lunar surface and lost connection to the Vikram Lander module of Chandrayaan 2.

A report published in The Indian Express suggested that an internal ISRO committee which was constituted to enquire into the likely reasons for the failure in making the soft-landing will be submitting its findings 'very soon'. Possibilities are that the reports will be submitted within the next couple of days. Sources suggested that the committee had met a few times and almost finalised its conclusions.

Just three days are left before the Sun sets over the south polar region of the Moon, where the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan-2 mission hard-landed after a failed soft-landing attempt.

On Tuesday, September 17, ISRO in a tweet thanked everyone for standing by them and supporting them. This was the first tweet by ISRO after September 10 when it had said that attempts were still being made to restore contact with the lander. Tuesday's tweet of ISRO has no mention of Vikram Lander.

READ | Chandrayaan 2: NASA’s Orbiter to fly over Vikram’s landing site, may give new cues

ISRO, in an official statement, has said there was no update to be shared. Also in a message to the IE, the space agency said that 'in case of any updates or image, it would be shared on our website."

According to sources, the report which is soon to be submitted by the committee investigating the failure in making soft-landing might be made public in a few days after going through the proper channels.

The Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan 2, which was scheduled to perform a lunar touchdown on September 7, had deviated from its planned flight path during the fine barking phase when it was just 2.1 km above the Moon's surface. It was after this point in the Vikram Lander's journey that it was not decelerating as fast it was planned to enable a safe landing. Following which the communication link to the lander was lost after a few seconds at a height of barely 335 metres above the Moon. The lander was travelling at more than 200 km per hour when it lost contact with the ground station. The speed which was to be achieved by Vikram lander was around 7 km per hour in order to initiate the powered descent phase after fine braking procedure just ahead of the touchdown.

ISRO, in subsequent statements, had only said that it had lost contact with Vikram Lander. The agency after a couple of days informed that the Orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 which is functioning normally and going around the Moon had been able to locate the lander on the Moon and take its 'thermal image'. Though the agency did not release any thermal images or clarified why images of Vikram were not taken. It is to be noted that the on-board cameras on the Orbiter can also take normal optical images.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) of NASA, which has been going around the Moon since 2009, was scheduled to pass over the hard landing site of Vikram lander. The LRO was expected to take images of Vikram but there was no clarification about these images being released. Experts believe that September 21 is the last date from re-establishing the connection with Vikram Lander and after this date, all efforts made will go in vain.