Jack Haines

The Indian space station have officially landed an unmanned rocket on the moon in an attempt to make a soft landing ahead of the Lunar Landing.

India’s Chandrayaan-2 rocket. Credit: PA

This attempt is a major milestone for India to becoming a space superpower.

Chandrayaan-2 the latest attempt departed from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 14:43 local time (09:13 BST).

This is actually India’s second attempt to getting to space as the Chandrayaan 1 on 15 July, was cancelled less than an hour before take off due to a “technical snag”.

In this Monday, July 15, 2019, file photo, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’s.

India has become the 4th country to successfully complete a soft landing on the lunar surface, along with other space powerhouses such as, China, the United States of America and former Soviet Union.

When the unmanned rocket successfully lands on the lunar surface, the lunar rover called Pragyan when translated mean ‘wisdom’ – will spend an entire lunar day (which is 14 earth days) on the surface conducting experiments gathering mineral and chemical samples.

ISRO said in a statement: “While there, we will also explore discoveries made by [the mission prior to this latest one] Chandrayaan-1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition. 

“Through this mission, we aim to expand India’s footprint in space, surpass international aspirations and inspire a future generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.”

An Indian spectator folds Indian national flag as others leave after the Chandrayaan-2

The rocket weighs 3.8 tons and consists of three parts. A lunar orbiter, a landing module and a lunar rover. All of the technology has been developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The rocket will travel for two months before entering orbit 100km above the surface of the moon.

Vikram, the lander named after a legend of Indian space exploration called Vikram Sarabhai, will then separate from the main body of the rocket and attempt a landing near to the moon’s southernmost point. 

This mission will then be followed up by Chandrayaan-3, which will aim to take another rocket to the moon at some time between 2023 and 2024.

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