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Fuel leak in cryogenic engine led to Chandrayaan 2 mission call off moments ahead of launch

According to sources with the ISRO, the launch of Chandrayaan 2 moon mission was on Monday aborted due a leak detected with the engine. The scientists have further revealed that it may take upto 10 days to fix the engine leak and that the launch is now likely next month. However, there is no official confirmation on the same.

T Raghavan Edited by: T Raghavan New Delhi Updated on: July 15, 2019 12:12 IST

Sources with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday said Chandrayaan 2 moon mission launch was aborted due to leakage in the engine. A leakage in the engine was suspected, soon after which the launch of Chandrayaan 2 was put to a halt, they said. 

According to what the sources revealed, the process of moon mission launch is a perplexed phenomenon and leakage with engines are not detected many a times. 

The sources also said the launch of Chandrayaan 2 would have been unsuccessful had it lifted off with the engine leakage. Moreover, scientists with the ISRO said it would have not been possible for Chandrayaan 2 to reach the aimed direction. 

Meanwhile, sources have said the launch of Chandrayaan 2 is very likely to take place next month. However, there is no official confirmation on the same. 

India's ambitious moon landing mission Chandrayaan-2 launch was called off due to a technical snag in the 'Bahubali' rocket early Monday, about one hour before it was to blast-off.

"It is not possible to make the launch within the launch window. The revised launch schedule will be announced later," an official announced from the Mission Control Centre.

Minutes before making this announcement, the officials put on hold the countdown for less than five minutes.

"The technical snag was noticed. We first have to approach the vehicle to assess the problem. First, we have to empty the fuel loaded in the rocket, then the rocket will be taken back for further investigation," an ISRO official told IANS.

"This process will take 10 days after that only we can decide on the launch schedule," he added.

The launch was called off nearly one hour before the actual time of launch which was 2.51 a.m.

"A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at T-56 minute. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later," ISRO tweeted later.

Standing at about 44 metre tall, the 640-tonne rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) is nicknamed 'Bahubali'. Just like the hero in the hit film by the same name lifted a heavy 'lingam', the rocket will carry the 3.8 tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft.

The Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission was a prestigious one as it aimed to make India as the fourth nation in the world to land and ride on the moon.

The other three nations that had achieved this feat are Russia, the US and China.

The Chandrayaan-2 consists of three segments - the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), the lander-Vikram (1,471 kg, four payloads) and rover Pragyan (27 kg, two payloads).

The GSLV-Mk III with a capacity to carry a four-ton satellite is a three stage/engine rocket with two strap-on motors powered by solid fuel. The second stage is a core liquid fuel booster and the third is the cryogenic engine.

To date ISRO has sent up three GSLV-Mk III rockets. The first one was on 18.12.2014 carrying Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (3.7 ton). The mission was also to test the rocket's inflight structural stability.

The second and third GSLV-Mk III's went up on 5.6.2017 and 14.11.2018 carrying communication satellites GSAT-19 (3.1 ton) and GSAT-29 (3.4 ton) respectively.

Interestingly, GSLV-Mk III will be used for India's manned space mission slated in 2022.

India presently has two fully operational rockets -- the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and GSLV-Mk II -- with a lift-off mass of 415 ton and a carrying capacity of 2.5 tonnes.

Also Read | Chandrayaan 2: Ten interesting facts about India's ambitious lunar mission

Also Read | Amazing! Total cost of Chandrayaan-2 is cheaper than 'Avengers Endgame'

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