BENGALURU, Sept 6 - As the nation awaits with bated breath for the soft-landing of the �Vikram� lander on the south pole of the lunar surface, the first attempt by any country, ISRO said on Friday everything related to the much-awaited touchdown is going on as per plan.
Joining the nation in wishing ISRO a success, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the mission manifests the best of Indian talent and spirit of tenacity.
�Its success will benefit crores of Indians,� he said in a series of tweets.
�We are eagerly waiting for the event. Everything is going according to the plan,� Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation K Sivan said on Friday.
The touchdown of Vikram lander is scheduled between 1.30 am and 2.30 am, followed by the roll out of rover �Pragyan� between 5.30 am and 6.30 am.
The soft landing will be telecast live from 1.10 am on Doordarshan, webcast on ISRO website and streamed on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Hours before the �historic� event, Prime Minister Modi in a series of tweets said, �The moment 130-crore Indians were enthusiastically waiting for is here! In a few hours from now, the final descent of Chandrayaan-2 will take place on the lunar south pole. India, and the rest of the world will yet again see the exemplary prowess of our space scientists.�
Modi, dozens of students from across the country selected by ISRO though an online quiz, a large media contingent and others are slated to watch the final descent of the lander as it happens, from the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here.
�Certainly there is a lot of anxiety in the minds of the entire (Chandrayaan-2) team because it�s a very complex operation and we are doing it for the first time,� a senior official associated with the mission, said.
�Everything... sensors, computers, command systems... has to work perfectly. But we are confident in the sense we have conducted a large number of simulations on the ground; it gives us the confidence it would go alright,� the official said.
He described the soft-landing as �almost like placing a baby on the cradle�, and said, �there is certain amount of anxiety but there is no fear�.
As India attempts a soft-landing on the lunar surface, all eyes will be on Vikram and rover �Pragyan�.
The 1,471-kg Vikram, named after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, father of the Indian space programme, is designed to execute soft-landing on the lunar surface and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days.
Chandrayaan-2�s 27-kg robotic vehicle Pragyan, which translates to �wisdom� in Sanskrit, can travel up to 500 metres from the landing spot on the Moon and leverages solar energy for its functioning.
�The lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and sub-surface science experiments, while the rover carries two payloads to enhance our understanding of the lunar surface,� according to ISRO.
Vikram will perform a series of complex braking manoeuvres to soft-land in the south polar region of the Moon between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, on September 7.
A few hours later, the rover will roll down from Vikram and will explore the surrounding lunar terrain.
Sivan recently said the proposed soft-landing was going to be a �terrifying� moment as the ISRO has not done it before.
The Chandrayaan-2 is a Rs 978-crore unmanned Moon mission (satellite cost Rs 603 crore and GSLV MK III cost Rs 375 crore).
India�s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1 successfully launched the 3,840-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into Earth�s orbit on July 22. � PTI