India's mission for a second visit to the Moon with Chandrayaan-2 has suffered a setback. During a routine drop test, the engineering model of the moon-lander "Vikram" was damaged a few weeks ago. The main components of the space ship, however, are safe and are being tested further, ISRO chief Dr K Sivan told NDTV.
"The flight model of the 'Vikram' Lander is safe and Chandrayaan-2 will be launched at an opportune window in the next few months. The main components of Chandrayaan-2 that will fly to the Moon are safe and being tested further," he said.
As a normal course, the space agency conducts testing on an engineering model, Dr Sivan said, adding that the engineers configured a drop test wrongly which damaged the legs of the equipment.
India's Rs 800 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission seeks to put an orbiter, a lander and a rover on the lunar surface using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MK III. The mission suffered some delays when the rocket was changed from GSLV MK II to MK III, when the Russian collaboration had collapsed.
India launched Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and the mission revealed the presence of water molecules on the moon.
Only USA, Russia and China have successfully soft-landed on the Moon. On April 11. Israel hopes to make a soft landing on the moon through the first private space craft. India hard-landed on the lunar surface as part of Chandrayaan-1.