India set for fresh Moon launch attempt
Sriharikota: India will make a second attempt Monday to send a landmark spacecraft to the Moon after an apparent fuel leak forced last week´s launch to be aborted.
The South Asian nation is bidding to become just the fourth nation -- after Russia, the United States and China -- to land a spacecraft on the Moon.
The mission comes 50 years after Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the moon, an occasion celebrated by space enthusiasts globally on Saturday
The fresh launch attempt for Chandrayaan-2 -- Moon Chariot 2 in some Indian languages including Sanskrit and Hindi -- has been scheduled for 2:43 pm (0913 GMT) on Monday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
"Chandrayaan 2 is ready to take a billion dreams to the Moon - now stronger than ever before!" it said on Thursday.
The first launch attempt was scrubbed just under an hour before the scheduled lift-off because of what authorities described as a "technical snag". Local media, citing ISRO officials, said that issue was a fuel leak.
The agency tweeted Saturday that a rehearsal for the launch was completed successfully.
Chandrayaan-2 will be launched atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII, India´s most powerful rocket.
Experts said setbacks were to be expected in such missions given their complexity, and that it was more prudent to delay the launch instead of taking risks that may jeopardise the project.
"In such an ambitious and prestigious mission like Chandrayaan, one cannot take a chance even if a small flaw is detected," Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of space policy at the New Delhi think tank the Observer Research Foundation, told AFP.
Former NASA scientist Kumar Krishen said India´s space agency should be praised for taking on ambitious projects like Chandrayaan-2.
"We should keep in mind that space exploration is risky as many systems have failed in the past and many lives lost," he told AFP.