India to launch unmanned moon landing

BENGALURU:   India on Friday launches its latest attempt at an unmanned moon landing, the next frontier of a burgeoning, cut-price aerospace programme rapidly closing in on the milestones set by global superpowers.

If successful, the mission would make the world’s most populous nation only the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to achieve a controlled landing on the lunar surface.

The latest iteration of the Chandrayaan (“Mooncraft”) programme comes four years after an earlier attempt ended in failure, with ground crew losing contact moments before landing.

This time around, there is optimism that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will succeed, as it sets its sights on a future manned lunar mission.

“We’re sure this one will be successful and will bring pride and recognition to everybody who has worked for it,” Anil G. Verma of Godrej & Boyce, ISRO’s principal engine and components supplier, told AFP.

The 14-day mission comes with a price tag of $74.6 million, according to media reports, and aims to successfully land a rover to explore the lunar surface.



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