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India successfully lands Vikram on the Moon

Click for interactive map.

India this morning successfully placed its Vikram lander, carrying its Pragyan rover, on the surface of the Moon in the high southern latitudes.

I have embedded the live stream below, cued to just before landing.

The next challenge is getting Pragyan to roll off Vikram, and spend the next two weeks exploring the nearby terrain. The mission of both it and Vikram is only planned to last through the daylight portion of the 28-day-long lunar day, so it is not expected for either to survive the lunar night. Both will make observations, but the main purpose of this mission has already been accomplished, demonstrating that India has the technological capability to land an unmanned spacecraft on another planet. That the landing was in the high southern latitudes added one extra challenge to the mission.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • David Eastman

    It’s interesting that they brought the lander to a horizontal stop several kilometers up and came down on a long slow controlled burn. That seems like the obvious way to do it, but it’s not what most landers have done and I don’t recall that Vikram-1 did that, I recall the earlier attempt being much closer to a hover-slam landing. They must have done a lot of work on the programming, and also found a lot of extra delta-V and testing to assure themselves that the landing thrusters could manage the long burn.

    Congratulations to everyone involved! Soft landing on the moon is obviously a big achievement.

  • James Street

    It doesn’t surprise me that India has a successful space program. Most of the coders in my department are here on H-1B work visas and over half are from India. They are excellent coders and easy to work with because they are very American in their way of thinking.

    On the other hand they are socialists to the point of being commies. Examples are Kshama Sawant and Pramila Jayapal. Back when Trump was president I was sitting at my desk reading one of his books at lunch. A coworker from India walked up to me and asked if Trump wrote it. I said yes. She waved her hand in a circle indicating the whole room and said “Everyone here hates him”.

  • J Fincannon


    I saw that their mission was only for the Sunlit period (they say ~14 days). Too bad. I calculate they will end their mission on Sept 4/8 GMT after 11.87 days. Terrain shadowing.

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