India releases Vikram failure report


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India’s space agency ISRO has released its investigation report on the failure of its lunar lander Vikram on September 7, 2019 to soft land on the Moon.

The Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander ended up spinning over 410 degrees, deviating from a calibrated spin of 55 degrees, and making a hard landing on the moon, according to ISRO scientists. The anomaly, which occurred during the second of four phases of the landing process, was reflected in the computer systems in the mission control room, but ISRO scientists could not intervene to correct it as the lander was on autonomous mode, using data already fed into its system before the start of the powered descent.

According to the report, they are using what was learned to incorporate changes in Chandrayaan-3, their next attempt at putting a lander and rover on the Moon, presently scheduled to launch 14 to 16 months from now. That launch date, about six months later than previous reports, also seems more realistic. Initially the agency was saying it planned to launch Chandrayaan-3 in less than a year from project inception, by November 2020, a schedule that seemed rushed and ripe for mistakes.

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3 comments

  • Phill O

    Amazing how these informative posting get few comments. However, they are enjoyed and do keep us “up on the world” space events.

    Keep them coming Bob!

  • David

    I don’t comment unless I have something to add, and there’s not really much to discuss on a post like this. I do appreciate them though!

  • Edward

    From the article: “During the second phase of descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value. Due to this deviation, the initial conditions at the start of the fine braking phase were beyond the designed parameters.

    Does this mean that the lander performed the 410 degree spin (head over heals) in order to try to increase speed to the designed parameters for the fine braking phase?

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