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Scientists from California meet ISRO chief K Sivan, team Chandrayaan-2

ISRO recently announced that it had lost communication with Lander Vikram of India's second unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 just before its scheduled soft landing on Moon when it was just 2.1 km above its surface.

Scientists from California meet ISRO chief K Sivan, team Chandrayaan-2

BENGALURU: A delegation of scientists from California Institute of Technology (CalTech) visited the headquarters of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bangaluru and met its chief Dr K Sivan. The CalTech delegation, which was led by Prof. David Tirrell, also met Secretary, Department of Space. 

Prof David Tirrell was accompanied by General Larry James, Deputy Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory(JPL) and other senior officials from CalTech.

The visit came days after the ISRO announced that it had lost communication with Lander Vikram of India's second unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 just before its scheduled soft landing on Moon when it was just 2.1 km above its surface.

"This is Mission Control Centre. #VikramLander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, communication from Lander to the ground stations was lost. Data is being analyzed. #ISRO," the space agency said in a tweet.

The landing was planned to take place between 1:30 AM to 2:30 AM on the intervening night of Friday-Saturday.

The Vikram Lander successfully separated from Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter on September 2. The Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter continues to orbit the Moon in its existing orbit.

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The Vikram lander was planned to land on the far side of the moon between 1:30 AM to 2:30 AM on the intervening night of Friday-Saturday. This would have been followed by rover (Pragyan) roll-out between 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM.

After revolving around the Earth's orbit for nearly 23 days, the craft began its journey to the moon on August 14.

The mission took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 22. India's second mission to the moon was approved by the cabinet in September 2008, just before the launch of Chandrayaan 1.

Chandrayaan-2 was launched into space on July 22 by India's heavy-lift launch vehicle, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III). 

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