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Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K Sivan on Saturday, September 21, said the space agency had not been able to establish contact with the Vikram lander as the 14-day deadline for its mission ended on Saturday. The ISRO Chairman said the ambitious Gaganyaan project is the next item on ISRO’s priority list. The mission will see ISRO attempt sending three Indians to space on an Indian spacecraft.

Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is doing very well. There are eight instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do. But we have not been able to establish communication with the lander yet,” the ISRO Chairman told ANI. He added the agency would try to understand what happened to the lander. “That is our first priority,” Sivan said.

While Chandrayaan-2 was meant for soft-landing of Vikram on the lunar surface, Gaganyaan’s mandate will be to send astronauts to space and bring them back to earth safely. 

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) also extended help by taking pictures of the touchdown site through its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). However, NASA added that during LRO’s flyover on September 17, the entire touchdown area was near dusk. 

“It was near dusk as the region prepares to transition from a two-week lunar day to an equally long lunar night, so shadows covered much of the region, and Vikram may not be in the LROC’s field of view,” Aviation Week quoted NASA as saying.

 NASA is expected to share images to support analysis by ISRO. 

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