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Isro launches Chandrayaan-2 from Sriharikota as thousands cheer

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) launched its second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, from Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota on Monday, a week after the lift-off was aborted at the eleventh hour due to a technical snag.

Chandrayaan-2 lifted off onboard Isro’s most powerful launcher, the 640-tonne rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III), from the country’s only launch site Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Thousands of people watched the launch as the heavy-lift rocket roared off into the skies.

The launcher of Chandrayaan-2, nicknamed ‘Bahubali’, measured 44metres in height. The three-stage vehicle is capable of launching 4-tonne class of satellites to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

The 20-hour countdown to the lift-off, a mission which has been described as one of the most complex ever undertaken by the space agency, had begun on Sunday at 6.43pm.

India deferred its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2 for the fifth time last Monday, roughly an hour before blast-off after scientists noticed a glitch in the launch vehicle, delaying its bid to become only the fourth country. The lunar landing mission was rescheduled for July 22 after scientists corrected the snag.

The Rs 978 crore project will follow Chang’e-4, launched by China, which in January became the first spacecraft to successfully land on the far side of the moon. Only three countries, the United States, the erstwhile Soviet Union and China, have successfully landed missions on the moon.

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