BHUBANESWAR, Sept 21 - ISRO Chairman K Sivan on Saturday said the country is moving ahead to meet its target of sending man to space by December 2021. He asserted that though ISRO�s plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2�s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script, it will have no bearing with on the Gaganyaan mission.
Stating that Chandrayaan-2�s orbiter will give data for seven and half years, he said all technologies of the Moon mission have proved accurate except for the soft landing. �Is not it a success?� he asked.
�By December 2020, we will have our first unmanned mission of human space plane. The second unmanned human space plane, we target for July 2021,� Sivan said addressing the eighth convocation of IIT, Bhubaneswar.
�By December 2021, the first Indian will be carried by our own rocket. This is the target ISRO is working for,� he said amidst loud clapping by the audience.
The prospects of re-establishing contact with Vikram lander have virtually ended after the conclusion of 14 Earth days, he said.
He said the orbiter with eight scientific instruments is doing very well, adding �each instrument is doing exactly whatever we wanted�. �Some of the pictures what we got were excellent and it is going to do a greater amount of science (research),� he added.
Though the orbiter was initially planned for only a year, he said in view of �very optimum mission planning, we would be able to get seven and a half years of life time. So we are going to get seven and a half years of science (research) not one year.�
The lander with rover Pragyan housed inside, lost communication with the ground station on September 7 during its final descent, just 2.1 km above the lunar surface, minutes before the planned touchdown.
A national-level committee comprising academicians and ISRO experts is analysing the cause of the communication loss with Vikram, Sivan said.
�We have not been able to establish communication with the lander yet. As soon as we receive any data, necessary steps will be taken,� he said.
ISRO made all-out efforts to re-establish contact with the lander ever since communication was lost on September 7. ISRO has said that once lunar night falls, there would be no sunlight for the lander to generate power for its working and also it was not designed to operate in the extremely cold temperature of Moon during the phase.
The lander, designed to execute a soft landing on the Moon surface, and the rover have a mission life of one Lunar day, which is equivalent to 14 earth days and ended early on Saturday.
He said ISRO is focusing on another Moon mission by 2020. �Discussion is on about the future plan. Our priority is on an unmanned mission by next year. But, first, we have to understand what exactly happened to the lander,� he added.
The Gaganyaan mission is extremely important for India as it will boost the scientific and technological capabilities of the country. �Therefore, we are working on a new target,� he said. � PTI