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India to launch second lunar mission on July 22

BENGALURU: India’s space agency said on Thursday it would launch the country’s second lunar mission on July 22, after the original launch was called off due to a ‘technical snag’ earlier this week.

Chandrayaan-2, built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is now scheduled to be launched at 0913 GMT (1443 IST) on July 22, ISRO said in a tweet.

On Monday, India postponed the launch of a lunar probe less than an hour before blast-off because of a technical problem, delaying its bid to become only the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the Moon.

The spacecraft looked set for launch atop a Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk III — India’s most powerful rocket — from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, but the countdown was halted 56 minutes and 24 seconds before the planned liftoff at 2:51 am (2121 GMT Sunday).

The Chandrayaan-2 — or Moon Chariot 2 — India’s Moon mission is part of India’s ambitious space programme, and its success would have propelled the South Asian nation into the rarefied company: Russia, the United States and China are the only countries to have landed a craft on the lunar surface.

India has spent about $140 million on Chandrayaan-2 — designing and building almost all of its components domestically — and hailed the mission as one of the cheapest ever.

A soft landing on the Moon would be a huge leap forward in India’s space programme.

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