Chandrayaan-2: NASA credits Chennai engineer in locating Vikram lander


New Delhi: US space agency NASA spacecraft in orbit around the Moon spotted the debris of India’s Vikram lander on the moon’s surface.

A Chennai engineer has helped NASA as the US space agency’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LROC) mission of Goddard Space Flight Centre has credited Shanmuga Subramanian, a mechanical engineer in India, for the discovery in an official email.

NASA posted images “clicked by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that show the site of impact and the associated debris field.”

In a statement, NASA said the “debris first located by Shanmuga Subramanian about 750 meters northwest of the main crash site and was a single bright pixel identification in that first mosaic.”

The US space agency also posted a before and after image that highlights changes to the surface and the impact point.

Part of India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission to the Moon, Vikram was supposed to be the first Indian spacecraft to touch down gently on the lunar surface.

Days after the attempt to land on the lunar surface, ISRO had confirmed that they had lost all communications with the orbiter. Later, NASA had said the Chandrayaan 2 lander had a “hard landing” and had released pictures of the targeted landing site.

Chandrayaan 2 was launched on July 22 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, on the back of a GSLV Mark III rocket – ISRO’s largest and most powerful. The mission was originally scheduled to launch on July 15 but that was aborted, with less than an hour remaining, after a technical glitch was discovered.

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