- PM interacted with ISRO scientists at the agency's Bengaluru headquarters
- Communication with Chandrayaan 2 lander was lost, ISRO had announced
- PM Modi gave a warm hug to ISRO chief Dr K Sivan who got emotional
Our determination to touch the moon has become even stronger and the best is yet to come, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told scientists of space agency ISRO this morning, in words of encouragement, hours after India's space agency announced that communication with the Chandrayaan 2 lander was lost.
''You are the ones who live for the country. You are the ones who sacrifice your own dreams and spend sleepless nights to keep India's head high," PM Modi said during his interaction with the ISRO scientists at the space agency's headquarters in Bengaluru.
PM Modi, who flew to Bengaluru on Friday night to watch the planned touchdown of the lander Vikram, told ISRO scientists that the entire country stands with them and that the best is yet to come in India's space programme.
"We came very close, but we need to cover more ground... Learnings from today will make us stronger and better," he told the scientists, adding, "The best is yet to come in our space programme. India is with you."
"Last night, I could understand your state of mind. I could read the sadness on your faces...You haven't slept for nights," the Prime Minister said.
After the address that lasted for 30 minutes, PM Modi shook hands with the ISRO scientists. As he left, he hugged the ISRO chief and India's top space scientist Dr K Sivan, who got emotional after the setback in the ambitious lunar mission.
After weeks of anticipation, ISRO's plan to soft-land Chandrayaan 2's lander Vikram on the moon's surface did not go as per script early this morning, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent, seconds before it was supposed to touch down on the moon's surface.
Vikram's descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km, the space agency said. Subsequently, communication from the lander to the ground stations was lost, ISRO said, adding that data was being analysed.
PM Modi was watching and tracking the updates as the tense moments unfolded. After he was briefed by Dr Sivan, he left the spot from where he was watching the mission and walked downstairs.
"I didn't want to add to your stress by being around when I saw that things didn't go exactly as planned, which is why I left and gave you some time for you all to gather your thoughts and emotions," PM Modi said this morning.