The Indian Space Research Organisation's heavy lift rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III), carrying the 3,850 kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport on Monday afternoon -- setting in place India's bid to return to the moon.
At exactly 2.43 pm, the Rs 375 crore GSLV-Mk III rocket began its ascent into space from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.
This will be the first time in history that India will make a soft landing on the lunar surface.
The GSLV-Mk III rocket with Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was originally scheduled for flight at 2.51 am on July 15. However, the flight was postponed after a technical snag was detected an hour prior to the rocket lift-off.
The ISRO later rectified the fault in its 44-metre Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III). Weighing about 640-tonne, the GSLV-Mk III rocket is nicknamed 'Bahubali' after the hero of a successful film of the same name.
Just like the protagonist of the film lifted a heavy Lingam in one of its scenes, the rocket carries the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft.
About 16-minutes into its flight, the Rs 375-crore GSLV-Mk III rocket is expected to sling the Rs 603-crore Chandrayaan-2 into its 170x39,120-km orbit.
Chandrayaan-2, 11 years after the massive success of Chandrayaan-1, will explore the uncharted South Pole of the Moon.
The lander 'Vikram', carrying the rover 'Pragyan', will be landed in a high plain between two craters at a latitude of about 70 degrees south of the moon.
ISRO has sent up three GSLV-Mk III rockets so far. The first carried Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment in December 2014. The second and third GSLV-Mk III carried communication satellites GSAT-19 and GSAT-29 in February 2017 and November 2018 respectively.
GSLV-Mk III will also be used for India's manned space mission in 2022.