It was a minute away for India to write a space history. Vikram, the lander, was to touch the lunar surface at 1.53 AM on the 7th of August. The entire nation was awake the night to be the witness to the historic event.   Then the ISRO lost communication with Vikram. The clock was timing at 1.52 AM in India. Vikram was only 2.1km away from the surface of the moon. Soft landing of Vikram, releasing of Pragyan were to follow before Pragyan starts its assignment on the moon for the next 14 days, and, the subsequent lunar expedition to follow.

But the unwanted happened. Scientists at the control room of the ISTRAC waited for the resumption of link. With them was PM Modi present at the center. Students from across the country were also there. Time was passing. Anxiety started overcoming hope in the eyes.

Finally, at 2.04 AM, the statement from ISRO Chief K Sivan came. It was not what the people of India waiting to hear. Mr. Sivan said, “Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, the communications from the lander to the ground station was lost. The data is being analyzed”.

The Prime Minister appeared among the team and held their spirit. He hailed the effort of the team. He said that what they did was not a mean feat, the nation is proud of them. He said, “You all have served the nation and done a great service to science and mankind. Move ahead with lots of courage. I am with you, hope for the best,”

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The climax of the Chandrayana-2 is now in the domain of speculations. As far as the success of the mission, it is 95 percent.  Launching of the Chandrayan-2 spacecraft, on July 22, by GSLV MkIII-MI was successful. The subsequent five rounds of earthbound orbit rising operations till August 6 were a success. On August 14, Chandrayan-2 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory, and on August 20 it reached the lunar orbit- both exercises were successful. In the following days moon-bound orbiting were also a success. On September 2 Vikram Lander successfully separated from the orbiter. The two de-orbiting maneuvers of Vikram in the due process were also successful. Then the descending of Vikram was as per plan till it lost the track and subsequently lost the contact at 2.1 km from the moon surface.

But,  the orbiter is in good health. It will be providing information for the next seven and a half years. It may trace Vikram on the moon in time to come. The orbiter is in good health. It will be providing information for the next seven and a half years. It may trace Vikram on the moon in time to come.

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