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NASA congratulates ISRO on successful Chandrayaan-2 launch

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India's GSLV-MkIII-M1 rocket carrying Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft majestically soars in the sky after its successful launch on Monday. Photo: ISRO

WASHINGTON (PTI): NASA on Monday congratulated its Indian counterpart ISRO on the successful launch of its second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 and said it was looking forward to know what the Indian space agency learns about the lunar south pole.

India on Monday successfully launched its second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 onboard its powerful rocket GSLV-MkIII-M1 from the spaceport in Sriharikota to explore the unchartered south pole of the celestial body by landing a rover.

The geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle lifted-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre into cloudy skies at 2.43 pm and successfully placed the 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2 into the earth orbit about 16 minutes later.

"Congrats to ISRO on the launch of Chandrayaan 2, a mission to study the Moon. We're proud to support your mission comms using our Deep Space Network and look forward to what you learn about the lunar South pole where we will send astronauts on our #Artemis mission in a few years," NASA tweeted.

As NASA marked the 50th anniversary of the historic first Moon landing on July 20, the US space agency is preparing to take its next giant leap with the ambitious Artemis programme that could see the "first woman and the next man" walk on the lunar surface.

The success of Chandrayaan-2 has brought a huge relief for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists after they postponed the launch on July 15 following a technical glitch in the rocket.

The Rs 978-crore unmanned mission also brought woman power to the fore as it was helmed by two women scientists of ISRO – Ritu Karidhal and M Vanitha – the Mission and Project directors respectively.

Joined by President Ram Nath Kovind and leaders across the political spectrum, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists and said every Indian is immensely proud today.

In a series of tweets, Modi referred to the indigenous systems used in Chandrayaan-2 and said the mission is "Indian at heart, Indian in spirit!... "

According to ISRO, the lunar South Pole is an interesting surface area which remains in shadow than North Pole.

There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it, the agency said, adding craters in the South Pole region have cold traps and contain fossil record of the early Solar System.

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