India reschedules launch of its moon mission for Monday

Science

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’s Geosynchronous Satellite launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII carrying Chandrayaan-2 stands at Satish Dhawan Space Center after the mission was aborted at Sriharikota in southern India, Monday, July 15, 2019. India has called off the launch of a moon mission to explore the lunar south pole. The Chandrayaan-2 mission was aborted less than an hour before takeoff on Monday. An Indian Space Research Organization spokesman says a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton launch-vehicle system. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

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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