India is bidding to follow Russia, the United States, and China in landing a spacecraft on the Moon, as the country Monday sends up a rocket to put a craft on the surface of the moon.
Chandrayaan-2 — or Moon Chariot 2 — took off on time at 2:43 pm (0913 GMT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on an island off the coast of Andhra Pradesh state. The launch came a week after a fuel leak forced a previous attempt to be canceled a few minutes before the scheduled blast-off.
Ovation broke out in the mission control room as the rocket blasted off into the skies over the Indian Ocean and mission control announced that the orbiter had broken away from the rocket successfully.
“Today is a historic day for space, science, and tech in India,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K. Sivan said.
President Ram Nath Kovind witnessed the launch alongside other dignitaries and flag-waving children. The rocket carried an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, and has been almost entirely designed and made in India.
The 2.4-tonne orbiter is expected to circle the Moon for about a year, taking images of the surface, looking for signs of water, and studying the atmosphere. (NAN)