Monday (September 9): ISRO informed today that the ‘Vikram’ lander lies on the lunar surface as a “single piece”, unbroken though it is in a tilted position following a hard landing while efforts to re-establish link with the probe were on.
“The lander is there (on lunar surface) as a single piece, not broken into pieces. It’s in a tilted position. We are making all-out efforts to see whether communication can be re-established with the lander.” an ISRO official associated with the mission claimed. An ISRO team is the on the job at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC),” he added.
On the landing day (September 7), Vikram went out of contact during its final descent, when it was just 2.1 km above the lunar surface. Lander Vikram encases rover ‘Pragyan’. Lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan) along with orbiter constitute Chandrayaan-2. The mission life of the lander and rover is one lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days.
K. Sivan, the Chairman of ISRO had said on Saturday that the space agency would try to restore link with the lander for 14 days, and reiterated the resolve on September 8 after the orbiter’s camera spotted it on the Lunar surface.
But an ISRO official said chances of restoring link with the lander were bleak since its system functionality was a prerequisite to achieve that. Another space agency official, though felt that chances did exist for restoring link, however, listed the limitations involved.
Recalling ISRO’s experience of recovering a spacecraft that went out of contact in the geostationary orbit, he said the lander’s case was dissimilar. In the case of Vikram, “that kind of operational flexibility is not there,” since it is already on the lunar surface and it cannot be reoriented, he said.
Vikram carried three payloads–Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA), Chandra’s Surface Thermo-physical Experiment (ChaSTE) and Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA).