Chandrayaan-2 is carrying 14 scientific instruments, including one from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the US.
Bengaluru: Leaving nothing to chance, Dr K. Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, spent the first half of Friday at ISTRAC, peering at data beamed by Chandrayaan-2 and ‘Vikram’, the lander, and returned for another round of counter-checks and discussions with his colleagues in the evening ahead of the big moment scheduled between 1 am and 2.30 am on Saturday. He spoke to Deccan Chronicle between his visits to ISTRAC and ISRO Headquarters in Bengaluru.
Dr Sivan please tell us about preparations for landing of ‘Vikram’ on the Moon?
Everything is in place as already planned and we have carried out tests on health of Chandrayaan-2 and ‘Vikram’. All systems and sub-systems on board are working perfectly. We have planned the descent of ‘Vikram’ between 1 am and 2 am and the soft landing (near South Pole region). This will be followed by the touchdown of the lander between 1.30 am and 2.30 am.
How’s the mood of your colleagues at ISRO today?
Everybody is feeling good and confident of accomplishing the landing of ‘Vikram’ on lunar soil.
Are you anxious about the crucial landing operation in the early hours of Saturday?
An element of anxiety is part of every space project whether at the time of launch of a satellite or deployment of all payloads on board the satellite before declaring it operational.
Is this element of anxiety higher particularly before the soft touchdown of ‘Vikram’?
This is the first time that we are attempting a very complex operation (landing on the Moon), so anxiety is something which we cannot wish away, but I will say that it (anxiety) is manageable as we are positive and confident of the success of this mission.