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GSLV rocket carrying India’s moon mission Chandrayaan-2 lifts off

Sriharikota(AP) | India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 aimed at landing a rover on unchartered Lunar South Pole was launched on Monday onboard the country’s most powerful geosynchronous launch vehicle from the spacesport here Monday.

The three-stage rocket GSLV-MkIII-M1 blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at 2.43 p.m amid cloudy skies, a week after the earlier launch was called off on July 15 following a technical snag observed during the propellant filling stage.

It will inject the 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2 into Earth orbit, about 16 minutes later, marking the first phase of the ambitious mission that will take about 48 days to land on the moon surface.

The three-component Chandrayaan-2 comprising an orbiter, a lander and a rover will undergo 15 crucial manoeuvres before landing on the moon, expected by the first week of September, Indian Space Research Organisation said.

Earlier, a 20-hour countdown for the launch started at 6.43 pm Sunday after ISRO scientists rectified the glitch that prompted them to call off the earlier launch.

Billed as the most complex and prestigious mission undertaken by ISRO since its inception, Chandrayaan-2 will make India the fourth country to soft-land a rover on the lunar surface after Russia, the United States and China.

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