Chandrayaan-2 launch called off due to technical snag

Chandrayaan-2 launch called off due to technical snag

Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Chandrayaan-2, on board the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-mark III-M1) sits on a launch pad after launch called back due to a technical snag in Sriharikota. AFP

In an unexpected last-hour twist, the launch of India's most ambitious lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2 was called off due to a 'technical glitch' at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) here early Monday morning.

As thousands stayed awake, hooked to the countdown splashing on multiple giant screens, the announcement jolted everyone. Exactly 56 minutes and 24 seconds before the pre-scheduled 2.51 am launch, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) abruptly halted the countdown.

READ: Chandrayaan 2 launch updates

The formal announcement came a few minutes later. "A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at T-56 minute. As a measure of abundant precaution, Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. The revised launch date will be announced later," the space agency declared.

There was no sign of this late decision even at 1.34 am when Isro made its last official update. The talk even then was about completion of filling the liquid hydrogen in the cryogenic stage of GSLV Mk III, the massive rocket launcher dubbed Baahubali.

The Rs 1,000 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission, equipped with an Orbiter, Lander and Rover, has been designed to soft-land on the lunar surface to analyse minerals, map the moon's surface and dig deeper for water first spotted by Chandrayaan-1.

Scheduled to blast off on July 15, Chandrayaan-2 was scheduled to make a soft-landing 54 days later. Going by the original schedule, the Lander, Vikram was to accomplish the highly challenging soft-landing on September 6.