India scraps moon mission one-hour before launch
India has postponed the launch of Chandrayaan-2 (Moon Chariot 2) in its mission to the moon.
A successful launch would have put India into the history books as the fourth country to have landed a craft on the lunar surface. It would have joined Russia, the United States and China.
The spacecraft was all set for launch atom India’s most powerful rocket – the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle MK III 0 at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, but countdown to liftoff was paused at 56-minutes to go.
"A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at one hour before the launch," the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
"As a measure of abundant precaution, Chandrayaan-2 launch has been called off for today. The revised launch date will be announced later."
This isn’t the first time this particular mission has been pushed back. The original launch date was scheduled for September 6. The ISRO has not said when it would next attempt a new launch.
So far, India has spent around US$140 million on the Chandrayaan-2 platform. It has designed and built a vast majority of all the components domestically, making it – in terms of spacecraft – one of the cheapest ever space launch vehicles.
A moon landing would be a real boon for the country’s space program. Minister Narendra Modi has said India would launch a crewed space mission by 2022.