ISRO delays Chandrayaan-2 to July

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An unnamed official at India’s space agency ISRO has revealed that they have decided to further delay its lunar lander/rover Chandrayaan-2 until July following the landing failure of SpaceIL’s Beresheet on the Moon.

“We saw Israel’s example and we don’t want to take any risk. Despite Israel being such a technologically advanced country, the mission failed. We want the mission to be a success,” he said.

The launch of India’s Moon mission was scheduled in April but it was postponed after Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft crashed during moon landing early this month. The ambitious mission was a first for a private effort.

“Landing on the Moon is a very complex mission and all the exigencies have to be factored in,” the official added.

No reason was given for the delay, other than a desire to be cautious. While caution is often a wise thing in experimental engineering, too much caution can be a fatal flaw. Chandrayaan-2 was originally scheduled for launch in the first quarter of 2018. It has now been delayed repeatedly since then, with the only hint of a reason being an unconfirmed story suggesting it was damaged during ground tests.

If this damage is the reason, then ISRO should tell us. Otherwise, the agency is beginning to look like it is afraid to fly.



  • “We saw Israel’s example and we don’t want to take any risk.”

    “. . . the agency is beginning to look like it is afraid to fly.”

    “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.”

    John A. Hopper

  • Edward

    “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” — Grace Hopper Or maybe John A. Shedd.

    Often, in aerospace, when a problem happens to someone else then caution goes around the industry. “What happened, and do we already protect against that on our systems?

    A couple of decades ago, a southern California shake table over-shook a satellite (an anomaly) during testing, causing some damage to the satellite. An indirect cause was that the test crew had not tested the shake table with a dummy mass, after several months of non-use, before testing the satellite in order to verify the table was working properly. My boss, at the time, had me check with our own test crew that they verified our own shake tables when they were not used for more than three months. The answer was yes, as we had seen them do on several occasions, but the managers became cautious and needed reassurance that we were not vulnerable to the same problem to our satellites.

    My speculation is that India may be attempting to verify that whatever happened with the Israeli IMU and its interaction with the engines and thrusters will not happen to their own lander. They may also be reviewing as many other instrumentation interactions as they can, too.

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