India will attempt to send its spacecraft to the Moon on Monday after it was forced to cancel last week’s scheduled launch at the last minute.
The Chandrayaan 2 is now due to launch at 2:43pm local time (9:13am GMT) on Monday. The first scheduled launch was due to take off on July 15 but was cancelled just an hour before take-off due to a “technical snag,” which was reportedly due to a fuel leak.
“Chandrayaan 2 is ready to take a billion dreams to the Moon – now stronger than ever before!” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. A rehearsal was carried out successfully, the agency said on Saturday.
The mission will be launched on India’s most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII. The spacecraft will carry an orbiter, lander and rover. Under the mission’s plan, the orbiter will circle the Moon for a year and the lander will touch down on the lunar South Pole, with the rover then carrying out experiments for 14 Earth days (or one lunar day). India hopes to find usable water on the Moon.
The Chandrayaan 2 mission has cost India about $140 million, which is far less than what other nations have spent on similar missions. If successful, it will join China, Russia and the US as the only countries to land a spacecraft on the moon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to launch a crewed space mission by 2022.