Chandrayaan-2 mission was a highly complex mission, which represents a significant technological leap compared to the previous missions of ISRO. It comprised an Orbiter, Lander and Rover to explore the unexplored South Pole of the Moon. The mission was designed to expand the lunar scientific knowledge through detailed study of topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics of top soil and composition of the tenuous lunar atmosphere, leading to a new understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.
After the injection of Chandrayaan-2, a series of maneuvers were carried out to raise its orbit and on August 14, 2019, following Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) maneuver, the spacecraft escaped from orbiting the earth and followed a path that took it to the vicinity of the Moon. On August 20, 2019, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into lunar orbit. While orbiting the moon in a 100 km lunar polar orbit, on September 02, 2019, Vikram Lander was separated from the Orbiter in preparation for landing. Subsequently, two de-orbit maneuvers were performed on Vikram Lander so as to change its orbit and begin circling the moon in a 100 km x 35 km orbit. Vikram Lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed upto an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently communication from lander to the ground stations was lost.
A last-minute software glitch led to the failure of the Chandrayaan 2 mission. Vikram Lander crash-landed on the moon’s surface after its guidance software went offline.
ISRO’s internal committee, led by Liquid Propulsion System Centre director V. Narayanan, examined the moon’s surface. The committee was also supplied information from space agencies such as NASA. The ISRO has put in place a mission to rectify the mistakes and relaunch Chandrayaan 2 next November. The agency will build a new lander and rover, which will be linked to the Orbiter that is rotating around the moon.