India has cancelled this Monday, for reasons of “technical” the launch into space of its second lunar mission, 56 minutes before the scheduled time, deferring indefinitely its ambition to become the fourth nation to successfully place a device on the Moon. The agency indian space (ISRO) plans to launch Monday at 02h51 local time (23h21 French time on Sunday) its mission Chandrayaan-2 from the shooting range in Sriharikota (in the south-east of India).

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“A technical problem has been noticed in the launch system of the vehicle to H-56” minutes, has written to ISRO on Twitter. “As a special precaution, the launch of #Chandrayaan-2 has been cancelled for today. The date of the next launch will be announced later,” added the same source.

New Delhi has spent $ 140 million (€124 million) – an amount well below those of other major space agencies for missions of this type – in this expedition, originally intended to ask the 6th of September next year, a lander and a mobile robot at the south pole of the natural satellite, located approximately 384.000 kilometers from the Earth.

Chandrayaan-2 (“Cart moon” in hindi) was supposed to be composed of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, for a total weight of 3.8 tons. The whole would have to be propelled into the atmosphere by a rocket, GSLV-MkIII, the most powerful launcher, the indian equivalent of a european rocket, Ariane 4. The indian mission has been realised in a context of renewed international interest in the Moon. The Man, who has trodden for the last time in 1972, is preparing his return. The us government has asked Nasa to return astronauts to 2024.

The return on the Moon is seen as a vital step of the preparation of manned flights to more distant destinations, the first plan of which the planet Mars. The project Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar mission of the Asian giant to the South, who had placed a probe in orbit around the Moon during the mission Chandrayaan-1 eleven years ago.

The space program of india has been noted in recent years due to its alloy of ambition and austerity budget, with operating costs well below those of its counterparts, as well as his progress at no charge. The ISRO account by 2022 to send a crew of three astronauts in space, which would be its first manned flight. Its scientists are also working on the development of its own space station, expected during the next decade.

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