As the powered descent of the lander began at around 1.38 am, scientists at ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here were glued to their terminals, anticipating the soft landing.
The Congress on Saturday said the country “stands by” ISRO after the space agency lost communication with its moon lander, with party chief Sonia Gandhi saying that no success is final and every obstacle is a stepping stone to future success. The party asserted that ISRO’s effort was “not in vain” and it has laid the foundation for future missions. Communications with Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander to ISRO’s ground station in Bengaluru were lost before touchdown while the nation eagerly awaited its soft landing on the hitherto unexplored lunar south pole in the early hours of Saturday.
Sonia Gandhi, in a statement, lauded the entire team of scientists and researchers at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for their incredible and praiseworthy efforts on the Chandrayaan-2 Mission. “We owe a great debt to ISRO and the brilliant men and women who staff it. Their hard work and dedication has earned India a place in the league of space-faring nations and have inspired generations to reach for the stars,” she said. It is a testament to their remarkable ability, goodwill and unique place in the heart of every Indian, that the nation followed Chandrayaan-2’s journey at every step, no matter the hour, the Congress chief said.
“No success is final and every obstacle is a stepping stone to future success. Chandrayaan-2 has laid the foundation for achieving greater feats and the entire country awaits in anticipation for traversing the next frontier of space,” she said in her statement.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hailed ISRO scientists for their “incredible work” on the mission and said it has laid the foundation for many more “pathbreaking and ambitious” space missions. “Congratulations to the team at ISRO for their incredible work on the Chandrayaan 2 Moon Mission. Your passion and dedication is an inspiration to every Indian. Your work is not in vain. It has laid the foundation for many more path breaking and ambitious Indian space missions,” Gandhi tweeted.
The Congress, in its official Twitter handle, posted: “The nation stands by the entire team of ISRO as we wait in these tense times. Your hard work and commitment has made our nation proud.” “Congratulations to the entire team at ISRO for their hard work and dedication. Your passion is an inspiration to an entire generation of budding scientists who will look at your work as a stepping stone to future greatness. Your efforts have made history and made our nation proud,” the party tweeted.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said on Twitter, “Proud of each and everyone on the ISRO team. Setbacks are a part of the journey; without them, there is no success. The whole nation stands with you and believes in you.” “Chandrayaan 2’s journey may take us slightly longer but ISRO’s history is replete with examples of their determination in the face of seemingly hopeless odds. They never give up. I have no doubt that we will get there, if not today, then tomorrow; together as a nation,” Sonia Gandhi said.
She recollected that our scientists at ISRO have achieved incredible feats with 115 successful space missions and astounding successes with Chandrayaan 1 (India’s first Moon Mission) and Mangalyaan (Mars Mission) and the Nation is extremely proud of their immense successes.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Chandrayaan-2 Mission is a testimony that ISRO’s scientists have traversed new frontiers of space and made every Indian proud. “We see it as a new opportunity to surge ahead and reach greater heights. Future is only brighter to achieve new feats and heights,” he tweeted.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the ISRO team’s dedication and hard work “is an inspiration for us”. “Team ISRO, your dedication, hard work and courage is an inspiration for us. Every step you have taken has brought India closer to success and fame. The nation stand’s with you in this historic endeavour,” he tweeted.
To encourage the scientific community, he referred to what former president APJ Abdul Kalam had said: “If you fail, never give up because FAIL means ‘First Attempt in Learning’. End is not the end, in fact END means ‘effort never dies’. If you get no as an answer, remember NO means ‘next opportunity’. So let’s be positive.”
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “When India’s 1st experimental flight satellite launch vehicle failed in Aug 1979, Satish Dhawan, then head of ISRO, consoled Abdul Kalam and took responsibility. When it succeeded in Jul 1980, Dhawan thrust Kalam forward. ISRO has been built due to such leadership.”
Ramesh’s colleague in the party Abhishek Singhvi tweeted, “If we failed to land the Vikram it is pertinent to note that the ORBITER is where majority of work is, which had been done. The Orbiter is safely in Lunar orbit and it may take time but it will prevail.” He said as a nation “we are saddened by the last mile hitch for Chandrayaan Vikram”.
“Simultaneously we are proud of our scientists who dreamt and created. If we have reached so far, we will conquer. Proud of you, ISRO. The nation stands with you, shoulder to shoulder,” Singhvi tweeted. Congress leader Rajeev Gowda also said on Twitter, “Our outstanding ISRO scientists deserve applause for their untiring efforts. They have braved worse odds before. This is a temporary setback in a momentous journey. We shall overcome. Thank you ISRO! Onward to success!”.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan has announced that the Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, communication from lander to the ground stations was lost. Data is being analysed, he said.