Sriharikota: There is many a slip between the cup and the lip, goes the proverb and the adage has proved true for the Indian space agency which had to call off its Rs 978 crore moon mission, the Chandrayaan-2, an hour before the rocket's flight on Monday due to a technical snag.The countdown was scheduled for 2.51 am. It was stopped 56 minutes and 24 seconds before lift-off at 1.55 am following an announcement from the Mission Control Centre.
Confusion prevailed for several minutes before ISRO came out with an official confirmation about the launch being cancelled."A technical snag was observed in the launch vehicle system. As a measure of abundant precaution it has been called off," and ISRO official said. A new launch schedule will be announced shortly.
ISRO officials later said the problem was with the critical cryogenic stage. Reacting swiftly, they ensured that the rocket and satellite were safe, and that the highly flammable liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen were removed from the rocket.India's space agency had earlier scheduled the launch in the first week of January but shifted it to July 15.
Despite the odd hour, enthusiasts in all age groups had converged at the island, off the coast of Andhra Pradesh, some of them travelling long distances on two wheelers, to witness the moment.Among the spectators was President Ram Nath Kovind.
A spectator standing at the site said it was good scientists had called off the launch while the rocket was still on the ground. "If it had blasted into space and something had happened, the huge amount of money spent on the mission would have been a colossal waste," he said. (Intro IANS)
- Vijay Karthik