A Broken Dream - Chandrayaan 2 Skip to main content

A Broken Dream - Chandrayaan 2

I remember the day when Chandrayaan 2 was set to launch. My friend had left for Sri Harikota to watch it live in front of his eyes. It was a big event. Bigger than Chandrayaan 1. I was watching it live too. But, 56 minutes before the launch, ISRO decided to postpone the mission due to some technical glitch. Chandrayaan 2 was finally launched on 22 July 2019. I watched a lot of videos and read a lot about the mission. Its history, mechanics, trajectory, almost everything I could find. It was a big event for India and certainly a big event for the world. It is not that easy to reach the moon. I mean, you can just figure it out by seeing that only three countries have been there. India could have been the fourth.





Every time something Chandrayaan 2 did, it got reflected in the foreign media. Look, India's lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 has entered Earth's orbit. Look, India's lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 has exited the orbit. Look, India's developed Chandrayaan 2 has entered the lunar orbit and many more. Chandrayaan 2 status was seen by the world. Like me, the whole country was as excited as the neighbouring countries were jealous. We all were waiting for the day when Pragyan would walk out of Vikram and will print the words ISRO and the image of the state emblem of India on the lunar soil. The day was 7th September 2019.




I am at my college's hostel room when my friend comes to my room and asks a question. It is 6 pm and I have a test tomorrow but in mind, something else is going on. The notification I received on my phone 2 hours earlier about the time of Chandrayaan 2 landing is something I am more excited about. Actually, the whole country was. I told a lot of guys and it was expected that everyone knew about that. It was a proud moment of being an Indian. I googled Chandrayaan 2 status a few times in between to get the updates. ISRO Chandrayaan 2 was quite active on the twitter regarding the mission and so was our prime minister. "Watch the live telecast of Vikram landing on the moon from 1 am onwards". Tests will be every week, this is a one-time thing I am witnessing and will stand as a witness to the generations to come.



Its 12 am. I and my roommate both have tuned to the live telecast on different links. Nothing is showing up except the message "Live telecast will start at 1 am". I left the web page as it is and started doing my own work. Finally, it was time to see some action. ISRO office is live on the internet and you can see all the scientists who have worked so hard on the mission. They are tensed. It was the result time. The same countenance as you have when the results are about to announce and you are typing the web address to see your results. ISRO Chandrayaan 2 was a dream. I keep my notebook aside as soon as I see the visuals on my screen. I hear a loud cheer from ISRO. Something happened. A breaking event on the lander. It has executed successfully. Although there are no visuals of the moon on the screen just the numbers and stats, it is still so exciting to see the country cheer up for one same thing. Everyone is awake and stuck to TV as if it is the final cricket match of India. Three cheers and three events executed successfully. The velocity has come down from around 1000m/s to 35m/s. The expected trajectory marked by red on the screen is overlapped by the current taken trajectory by the lander. Everything is going as planned. Then, suddenly, when everyone was enjoying and cheering up, the trajectory makes a sudden deflection and the communication breaks.





I did not take it as a serious problem. Communication breaks and joins all the time. In fact, none of the scientists looks tensed. But, the time passed slowly and the announcement is, "still awaiting response". A few moments later, a person from ISRO announces on the microphone, "Please Recheck Signal", to which the response is announced as "Negative Response". All the scientists are tensed and deep down praying to see a green signal on the screen. But unfortunately, the screen never lit to green. The lander never communicated again and everyone's dream has been broken. India has lost that cricket match. The whole world was watching us and looking up to us. But the scene was heartbreaking. Actually, India is not used to expecting failure. We achieve everything on the first attempt. I think the hopes were too high. The scientists' face looked just like when your does when the hard work has not paid off. ISRO chief cried on the shoulders of the prime minister. Chandrayaan 2 mission has failed after coming so close to the moon. I could recall the scene from Apollo 13 movie when Tom Hanks is so close to the moon and he hears the announcement as, "Abort Mission". He imagines himself on the moon. So did the whole country. It was heartbreaking. I waited till 3:30 for the lander to communicate. I was hoping the next second the signal would come. Or the next second. Or the next. Or the next.




I woke up to the sad news that the lander has not communicated yet. The disappointment on the faces of the scientists was something you cannot ignore. Internet is filled with consolation messages and ISRO Chandrayaan news. The whole world is applauding on the mission's success. Yes, everyone is considering it a success. But, who would know the sweet taste of success without knowing the sour taste of failure? The mission was called a success all around the world. It has succeeded but could not complete the task. At least we tried. At least we implemented. At least we did 95% right and reached travelled all the way to the moon till 2.5km were left. We tried so hard. Being an Indian mission two things are definite, we will try again like we all do in our lives and we will not lose the hope for Chandrayaan 2. I opened the Chandrayaan 2 page on Google and it says, "We will try to connect for 14 days". We all are Indians. We never lose hope even if the plan is crashing down. I walked down the stairs. This is something positive. We will succeed. I opened twitter and see a tweet by Shaadi.com which says, "You got more people united than us ISRO. Please teach us the tricks." I smiled and said in my mind, "Quite True!!".

Comments

  1. You have awesome writing skills dude. Let's talk about you writing blogs & stories for my company. As i see your words make the story alive in no time.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks a lot Sudhanshu. Lets connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/harishkumarrajora

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