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2019-09-07

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The last image of Vikram relayed at ISRO’s communication centre just before the agency announced that communication was lost with the lander. Photo: YouTube/ISRO Official  

In a huge disappointment, communications from Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander to ISRO’s ground station here was lost before touchdown while the nation eagerly awaited its soft landing on the hitherto unexplored lunar south pole in the early hours of Saturday.

Addressing the scientists after the link was snapped, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Nation is proud of you, be courageous.”

As the powered descent of the lander began at around 1.38 am, scientists at ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here were glued to their terminals, anticipating the soft landing.

They clapped and cheered as the moon lander completed the rough braking phase before the fine braking phase started.

It was then that the scientists started becoming tense and went into a huddle.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan was seen engaged in intense discussions with some scientists.

Soon he announced that the Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance observed upto altitude of 2.1 km.

Subsequently communications from lander to ground station was lost, he said, adding the data was being analysed

The Prime Minister said “They have (scientists) given their best and have always made India proud.”

Mr. Modi also interacted with students and answered questions.

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