The India Space Research Organization (ISRO) lost contact Saturday with Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander just minutes before it was to land to on the lunar surface.
“The descent of the Vikram Lander was happening as planned and normal descent was observed till 2.1 km [1.3 miles]. Subsequently, the communication was lost. The data is being analyzed,” said ISRO chairman K. Sivan.
The apparent failed mission would have made India the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to carry out a soft landing on moon.
The mood at the ISRO center in Bengaluru was extremely tense after receiving the news.
India’s Chandrayaan 2 was launched July 22 to reach near the moon’s south pole. It is a three-module spacecraft comprising an orbiter, lander and rover.
“Be courageous. Let’s hope for the best. Not a small achievement. Country is proud of you. Congratulations from my side. You have done a great service to the country and to humankind. Your efforts will go on and I am completely with you.” Modi told scientists before communication was lost with the module.
It was the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface.