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Chandrayaan-2 and the other moon missions the world has been on, here's a recap

Chandrayaan-2 was just 2.1 km away from the moon surface, the communication from the Lander to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) control room was lost. The Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was launched into space by GSLV Mk III on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. 

Chandrayaan-2 and the other moon missions the world has been on, here's a recap
Image Credit: IANS/ISRO
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New Delhi: All was going well with Chandrayaan-2's Vikram Lander that began its descent at about 1.38 am on Saturday. When it was just 2.1 km away from the moon surface, the communication from the Lander to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) control room was lost.

After monitoring the situation, ISRO chief K Sivan announced that the communication has been lost. 

"This is Mission Control Centre. Vikram lander 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 analysed," ISRO said in a statement. 

The Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was launched into space by heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. 

It was comprised of three segments - the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), Vikram Lander (1,471 kg, four payloads) and Pragyan Rover (27 kg, two payloads).

After revolving around the earth's orbit for nearly 23 days, Chandrayaan-2 began its journey to the moon on August 14. On September 2, Vikram separated from the Orbiter. 

Chandrayaan-2 was India's first attempt at landing a spacecraft on the moon. So far, only the US, Russia and China have managed to place a spacecraft on the moon. But, no country has ever made a successful landing on the south polar region of the moon, where Vikram was to land.

Now, let us get some insight into the previous moon missions that the world has seen in the last five decades. The lists have been compiled by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1950s

Name Nation Launch Arrival Type Results
Pioneer 0 USA Aug. 17, 1958 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR Sept. 23, 1958 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Pioneer 1 USA Oct. 11, 1958 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR Oct. 11, 1958 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Pioneer 2 USA Nov. 8, 1958 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR Dec. 4, 1958 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Pioneer 3 USA Dec. 7, 1958 N/A Flyby Unsuccessful
Luna 1 USSR Jan. 2, 1959 Jan. 4, 1959 Impact Partial Success; first Moon flyby
Pioneer 4 USA March 3, 1959 Mar. 4., 1959 Flyby Partial Sucess
Unnamed Luna USSR June 18, 1959 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Luna 2 USSR Sept. 12, 1959 Sept. 13, 1959 Impact Successful; first spacecraft to impact the Moon's surface
Pioneer P-1 USA Sept. 24, 1959 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Luna 3 USSR Oct. 4, 1959 Oct. 6, 1959 Flyby Successful; first pictures of the lunar farside.
Pioneer P-3 USA Nov. 26, 1959 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful

1960s

Name Nation Launch Arrival Type Results
Unnamed Luna USSR April 15, 1960 N/A Flyby Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR April 16, 1960 N/A Flyby Unsuccessful
Pioneer P-30 USA Sep. 25, 1960 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Pioneer P-31 USA Dec. 15. 1960 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Ranger 3 USA Jan. 26, 1962 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Ranger 4 USA April 26, 1962 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Ranger 5 USA Oct. 21, 1962 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR Jan. 4, 1963 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR Feb. 3, 1963 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Luna 4 USSR April 2, 1963 April 6, 1963 Lander Unsuccessful; flew past Moon.
Ranger 6 USA Jan. 30, 1964 Feb. 2, 1965 Impact Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR March 21, 1964 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR April 20, 1964 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Ranger 7 USA July 28, 1964 July 31, 1964 Impact Successful; first U.S. close-up pictures of the Moon
Ranger 8 USA Feb. 17, 1965 Feb. 20, 1965 Impact Successful
Kosmos 60 USSR March 12, 1965 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Ranger 9 USA March 21, 1965 March 24, 1965 Impact Successful
Unnamed Luna USSR April 10, 1965 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Luna 5 USSR May 9, 1965 May 12, 1965 Lander Unsuccessful; impacted Moon
Luna 6 USSR June 8, 1965 June 11, 1965 Lander Unsuccessful; flyby
Zond 3 USSR July 18, 1965 July 20, 1965 Flyby Successful
Luna 7 USSR Oct. 4, 1965 Oct. 7, 1965 Lander Unsuccessful; impacted Moon
Luna 8 USSR Dec. 3, 1965 Dec. 6, 1965 Lander Unsuccessful; impacted Moon
Luna 9 USSR Jan. 31, 1966 Feb. 3, 1966 Lander Successful; first lunar soft landing and first picture from the lunar surface
Kosmos 111 USSR March 1, 1966 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Luna 10 USSR March 31, 1966 April 3, 1966 Orbiter Successful; first lunar orbiter
Surveyor 1 USA May 30, 1966 June 2, 1966 Lander Successful; first U.S. Moon landing and first U.S. photo from the lunar surface.
Lunar Orbiter 1 USA Aug. 10, 1966 Aug. 14, 1966 Orbiter Successful
Luna 11 USSR Aug. 24, 1966 Aug. 27, 1966 Orbiter Successful
Surveyor 2 USA Sept. 20, 1966 Sept. 23, 1966 Lander Unsuccessful; impacted Moon
Luna 12 USSR Oct. 22, 1966 Oct. 25, 1966 Orbiter Successful
Lunar Orbiter 2 USA Nov. 6, 1966 Nov. 10, 1966 Orbiter Successful
Luna 13 USSR Dec. 21, 1966 Dec. 24, 1966 Lander Successful
Lunar Orbiter 3 USA Feb. 5, 1967 Feb. 8, 1967 Orbiter Partial success; camera failure
Surveyor 3 USA April 17, 1967 April 20, 1967 Lander Successful; visited on the Moon by Apollo 12 crew.
Lunar Orbiter 4 USA May 4, 1967 May 8, 1967 Orbiter Partial success; camera failure
Surveyor 4 USA July 14, 1967 July 17, 1967 Lander Unsuccessful
Lunar Orbiter 5 USA Aug. 1, 1967 Aug. 5, 1967 Orbiter Successful
Surveyor 5 USA Sept. 8, 1967 Sept. 11, 1967 Lander Successful
Surveyor 6 USA Nov. 7, 1967 Nov. 10, 1967 Lander Successful
Surveyor 7 USA Jan. 7, 1968 Jan. 10, 1968 Lander Successful
Unnamed Luna USSR Feb. 7, 1968 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Luna 14 USSR April 7, 1968 April 10, 1968 Orbiter Successful
Zond 5 USSR Sept. 15, 1968 Sept. 18, 1968 Flyby Successful; first living creatures to fly past the Moon
Zond 6 USSR Nov. 10, 1968 Nov. 14, 1968 Flyby Partial success; animal cargo lost on landing.
Apollo 8 USA Dec. 21, 1968 Dec. 24, 1968 Orbiter Success; first humans to orbit the Moon
Unnamed Luna USSR Feb. 19, 1969 N/A Rover Unsuccessful; first attempted Moon rover
Apollo 10 USA May 18, 1969 May 21, 1969 Orbiter Successful; lander test in lunar orbit
Unnamed Luna USSR June 14, 1969 N/A Sample Return Unsuccessful
Luna 15 USSR July 13, 1960 July 18, 1969 Orbiter/Sample Return Partial success; orbiter successful, sample return crashed on the Moon
Apollo 11 USA July 16, 1969 July 20, 1969 Orbiter/Sample Return Successful; first humans to land on the Moon
Zond 7 USSR Aug. 7, 1969 Aug. 11, 1969 Flyby Successful
Kosmos 300 USSR Sept. 23, 1969 N/A Sample Return Unsuccessful
Kosmos 305 USSR Oct. 22, 1969 N/A Sample Return Unsuccessful
Apollo 12 USA Nov. 14, 1969 Nov. 17, 1969 Orbiter/Sample Return Successful; rendezvous with Surveyor 3 on the surface of the moon.

1970s

Name Nation Launch Arrival Type Results
Unnamed Luna USSR April 15, 1960 N/A Flyby Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR April 16, 1960 N/A Flyby Unsuccessful
Pioneer P-30 USA Sep. 25, 1960 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Pioneer P-31 USA Dec. 15. 1960 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Ranger 3 USA Jan. 26, 1962 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Ranger 4 USA April 26, 1962 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Ranger 5 USA Oct. 21, 1962 N/A Impact Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR Jan. 4, 1963 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR Feb. 3, 1963 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Luna 4 USSR April 2, 1963 April 6, 1963 Lander Unsuccessful; flew past Moon.
Ranger 6 USA Jan. 30, 1964 Feb. 2, 1965 Impact Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR March 21, 1964 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Unnamed Luna USSR April 20, 1964 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Ranger 7 USA July 28, 1964 July 31, 1964 Impact Successful; first U.S. close-up pictures of the Moon
Ranger 8 USA Feb. 17, 1965 Feb. 20, 1965 Impact Successful
Kosmos 60 USSR March 12, 1965 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Ranger 9 USA March 21, 1965 March 24, 1965 Impact Successful
Unnamed Luna USSR April 10, 1965 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Luna 5 USSR May 9, 1965 May 12, 1965 Lander Unsuccessful; impacted Moon
Luna 6 USSR June 8, 1965 June 11, 1965 Lander Unsuccessful; flyby
Zond 3 USSR July 18, 1965 July 20, 1965 Flyby Successful
Luna 7 USSR Oct. 4, 1965 Oct. 7, 1965 Lander Unsuccessful; impacted Moon
Luna 8 USSR Dec. 3, 1965 Dec. 6, 1965 Lander Unsuccessful; impacted Moon
Luna 9 USSR Jan. 31, 1966 Feb. 3, 1966 Lander Successful; first lunar soft landing and first picture from the lunar surface
Kosmos 111 USSR March 1, 1966 N/A Orbiter Unsuccessful
Luna 10 USSR March 31, 1966 April 3, 1966 Orbiter Successful; first lunar orbiter
Surveyor 1 USA May 30, 1966 June 2, 1966 Lander Successful; first U.S. Moon landing and first U.S. photo from the lunar surface.
Lunar Orbiter 1 USA Aug. 10, 1966 Aug. 14, 1966 Orbiter Successful
Luna 11 USSR Aug. 24, 1966 Aug. 27, 1966 Orbiter Successful
Surveyor 2 USA Sept. 20, 1966 Sept. 23, 1966 Lander Unsuccessful; impacted Moon
Luna 12 USSR Oct. 22, 1966 Oct. 25, 1966 Orbiter Successful
Lunar Orbiter 2 USA Nov. 6, 1966 Nov. 10, 1966 Orbiter Successful
Luna 13 USSR Dec. 21, 1966 Dec. 24, 1966 Lander Successful
Lunar Orbiter 3 USA Feb. 5, 1967 Feb. 8, 1967 Orbiter Partial success; camera failure
Surveyor 3 USA April 17, 1967 April 20, 1967 Lander Successful; visited on the Moon by Apollo 12 crew.
Lunar Orbiter 4 USA May 4, 1967 May 8, 1967 Orbiter Partial success; camera failure
Surveyor 4 USA July 14, 1967 July 17, 1967 Lander Unsuccessful
Lunar Orbiter 5 USA Aug. 1, 1967 Aug. 5, 1967 Orbiter Successful
Surveyor 5 USA Sept. 8, 1967 Sept. 11, 1967 Lander Successful
Surveyor 6 USA Nov. 7, 1967 Nov. 10, 1967 Lander Successful
Surveyor 7 USA Jan. 7, 1968 Jan. 10, 1968 Lander Successful
Unnamed Luna USSR Feb. 7, 1968 N/A Lander Unsuccessful
Luna 14 USSR April 7, 1968 April 10, 1968 Orbiter Successful
Zond 5 USSR Sept. 15, 1968 Sept. 18, 1968 Flyby Successful; first living creatures to fly past the Moon
Zond 6 USSR Nov. 10, 1968 Nov. 14, 1968 Flyby Partial success; animal cargo lost on landing.
Apollo 8 USA Dec. 21, 1968 Dec. 24, 1968 Orbiter Success; first humans to orbit the Moon
Unnamed Luna USSR Feb. 19, 1969 N/A Rover Unsuccessful; first attempted Moon rover
Apollo 10 USA May 18, 1969 May 21, 1969 Orbiter Successful; lander test in lunar orbit
Unnamed Luna USSR June 14, 1969 N/A Sample Return Unsuccessful
Luna 15 USSR July 13, 1960 July 18, 1969 Orbiter/Sample Return Partial success; orbiter successful, sample return crashed on the Moon
Apollo 11 USA July 16, 1969 July 20, 1969 Orbiter/Sample Return Successful; first humans to land on the Moon
Zond 7 USSR Aug. 7, 1969 Aug. 11, 1969 Flyby Successful
Kosmos 300 USSR Sept. 23, 1969 N/A Sample Return Unsuccessful
Kosmos 305 USSR Oct. 22, 1969 N/A Sample Return Unsuccessful
Apollo 12 USA Nov. 14, 1969 Nov. 17,1969 Orbiter/Sample Return Successful; rendezvous with Surveyor 3 on the surface of the moon.

1980s: No lunar missions launced in this decade.

1990s

Name Nation Launch Arrival Type Results
SMART-1 Europe 9/27/2003 11/15/2004 Orbiter/Impact Successful; first European Moon mission
SELENE (Kaguya) Japan 9/14/2007 10/3/2007 Orbiter/Impact Successful
Chang'e 1 China 10/24/2007 11/5/2007 Orbiter/impactor Successful; first Chinese Moon mission
Chandrayaan-1 India 10/22/2008 11/12/2008 Orbiter Successful
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbter (LRO) USA 6/18/2009 6/23/2009 Orbiter (Active Mission) Successful; extended mission in progress
LCROSS USA 6/18/2009 10/9/2009 Impact Successful; impact of LRO upper stages

2000s

Name Nation Launch Arrival Type Results
SMART-1 Europe 9/27/2003 11/15/2004 Orbiter/Impact Successful; first European Moon mission
SELENE (Kaguya) Japan 9/14/2007 10/3/2007 Orbiter/Impact Successful
Chang'e 1 China 10/24/2007 11/5/2007 Orbiter/impactor Successful; first Chinese Moon mission
Chandrayaan-1 India 10/22/2008 11/12/2008 Orbiter Successful
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbter (LRO) USA 6/18/2009 6/23/2009 Orbiter (Active Mission) Successful; extended mission in progress
LCROSS USA 6/18/2009 10/9/2009 Impact Successful; impact of LRO upper stages

2010s

Name Nation Launch Arrival Type Results
Chang'e 2 China 10/1/2010 10/5/2010 Orbiter Successful
ARTEMIS USA 2010 2011 Orbiters (Active Mission) Successful; twin spacecraft on an extended lunar mission after successful Earth observartions
Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) USA 9/10/2011 1/1/2012 Orbiters Successful; twin spacecraft
Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) USA 9/7/2013 10/6/2013 Orbiter Successful
Chang'e 3 China 12/6/2013 12/14/2013 Lander (Active Mission) Successful; delivered Yutu rover to lunar surface
Yutu China 12/6/2013 12/14/2013 Rover Successful; first non-Soviet rover on the Moon
Chang'e 5-Test Vehicle China 10/23/2014 10/27/2014 Flyby Successful
Queqiao China 5/20/2018   Orbiter Successful; lunar relay satellite
Chang'e 4 and Yutu 2 China 12/7/2018   Lander, Rover Successful; first lunar farside landing
Beresheet Israel 2/22/2019 4/11/209 Lander Unsuccessful; first lunar landing attempt by a private company

(Credit: NASA)

Chandrayaan-2 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-1, which was launched in 2008. India's second mission to the moon was approved just during Chandrayaan-1 launch. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Bengaluru to witness the moment live, encouraged the ISRO scientists with his motivating words. "There will be a new dawn and a brighter tomorrow very soon," PM Modi said.

He addressed the scientists at the centre and inspired them to march on by saying, "You came as close as you could. Stay steady and look ahead."

"To our scientists, I want to say 'India is with you'. You are exceptional professionals who have made an incredible contribution to the nation's progress. You have given your best always, and will give us several more opportunities to smile about," the Prime Minister added.

"Our determination to get closer to Moon today has just got stronger," he further said.

Minutes later, the Prime Minister was seen hugging and consoling ISRO chief K Sivan, who burst into tears as PM Modi was about to leave.

(With agency inputs)