"Scientists might have felt they do not want to take chance"

Chennai: The launch of India's second Moon mission aimed at landing a rover on the unexplored Lunar South Pole was aborted early Monday due to a "technical snag" minutes before the scheduled lift-off of the country's most powerful rocket GSLV-MKIII from the spaceport of Sriharikota.

Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Nambi Narayanan, credited for his contributions in the development of cryogenic technology in the country's space programme, said calling off the launch was disappointing not just for the general public but even for the brains behind the Rs 978 crore project.

"It is a pity that countdown was stopped. They (scientists) might have noticed something wrong. I feel the problem might (have been even) small but they must not have wanted to take a chance", he told PTI.

Narayanan's comments came even as the ISRO was yet to make any formal announcement on what went wrong during the final hour of countdown that prompted the space agency to call it off 56 minutes before the lift-off.

Though none of the ISRO officials whom PTI contacted responded, experts have said a glitch might have been noticed when the rocket's liquid propellant was being loaded into the cryogenic upper stage engine.

Incidentally, an update by ISRO at around 1.34 AM Monday had said "Filling of Liquid Hydrogen in Cryogenic stage of #GSLVMkIII-M1 completed. #Chandrayaan2 #ISRO Stay tuned for more updates.."

Narayanan said it was good ISRO halted the launch after noticing the glitch.

"It may be a small thing, but that is always good (halting a launch instead of going ahead). They are now trying to understand what went wrong. what actually happened. So, we need to wait.." he said.

ISRO had earlier scheduled the launch of the mission, headed by women scientists Ritu Karidhal and Muthayya Vanitha, in the first week of January but shifted it to July 15 after chosing a launch window between July 9 and 16.

Chandrayan-2, comprising an orbiter, a lander and a rover, was to have been injected into an Earth orbit about 16 minutes after lift-off with the lander to touch down on the Moon surface 54 days later through a series of critical orbit rising manoeuvres.

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