PM Modi consoles an emotional ISRO chief K Sivan after Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander lost contact
After a pep talk to scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday gave a long and tight hug to an emotional ISRO chief K Sivan, who was in tears, unable to come to terms over lander Vikram's unsuccessful bid to soft-land on the moon.
Modi, in his address at the ISRO centre here, asked the scientists not to get disheartened by the hurdles in the lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 and asserted that there will be a "new dawn".
No sooner than the Prime Minister concluded his address, Sivan accompanied him to see him off.
At this juncture, the Prime Minister, who was on his way to get into his car, gave him a "reassuring" and tight hug, lending his shoulder to teary-eyed Sivan.
The Prime Minister embraced Sivan as he made no secret of his deep disappointment as the ambitious venture did not pan out as intended.
Modi also said in his address that the country's determination to land on the moon has become even stronger.
"We came very close, but we need to cover more ground.... Learnings from today will make us stronger and better," he told the scientists, adding, "The best is yet to come in our space programme. India is with you."
Earlier, Sivan, who his colleagues say is a task-master but a simple and genial individual, announced -- his voice choking -- that the lander had lost communication with the ground stations, and the data is being analysed.
The sequence of soft landing of Vikram lander on the lunar surface (Image: ISRO)
The Prime Minister was present at the ISRO centre to witness the touch-down early Saturday and returned less than six hours later to address scientists and the nation at 8 am.
The soft landing of lander Vikram did not go according to ISRO's plan as it lost contact with the ground station. ISRO Chairman K Sivan had announced, "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."
If the lander had pulled off the historic touchdown, the country could have joined the US, Russia, and China in soft landing on the lunar surface.