You may recall that back on 2019-04-11 we covered the attempt by Israeli non-profit company SpaceIL to land its Beresheet spacecraft on the Moon. The landing occurred, but with an impact velocity much greater than the hoped-for soft touchdown, dashing Israel’s hope to be fourth country to soft land on the Moon and, incidentally, thwarting plans for the tardigrade conquest of Earth’s natural satellite.
Now, it’s India’s turn. Today, on 2019-09-06, India’s Vikram lander is scheduled to attempt a soft landing on the Moon between craters Manzinus C and Simpelius N near 70.9° south latitude, the southernmost point of any Moon landing. The lander is part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which was launched on 2019-07-22 by the Indian Space Research Organisation from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. If the landing is successful, the lander will deliver a solar-powered rover, Pragyan, to the surface. The main Chandrayaan spacecraft will study the Moon from a high-inclination 100 km orbit; it released the lander on Monday at 07:45 UTC.... [Read More]