MPost BureauSriharikota: The launch of India’s second mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2, was called off due to a technical snag less than an hour before blast-off on Monday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.The countdown to the launch of Chandrayaan-2, on board the GSLV Mk-III rocket, was scheduled for 2.51 am. It was stopped 56 minutes and 24 seconds before lift-off at 1.55 am following an announcement from the Mission Control Centre. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DayConfusion prevailed for several minutes before ISRO came out with an official confirmation about the launch being cancelled. “A technical snag was observed in the launch vehicle system at t-minus 56 minutes. As a measure of abundant precaution Chandrayaan 2 launch has been called off for today,” ISRO Associate Director (Public Relations) B R Guruprasad said. A revised launch date will be announced later, he added. “Launch is called off due to a technical snag. It is not possible to make the launch within the (launch) window. (A new) launch schedule will be announced later,” another ISRO official said. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penaltyIndia’s space agency had earlier scheduled the launch in the first week of January but shifted it to July 15. The lift-off of the three-component spacecraft weighing 3,850 kg and comprising an orbiter, the lander and the rover was scheduled from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) here. President Ram Nath Kovind was in Sriharikota to witness the launch. The Chandrayaan-2 was supposed to explore the uncharted lunar south pole, 11 years after ISRO’s successful first lunar mission- Chandrayaan-1, which made more than 3,400 orbits around the moon and was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009. The Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2, on-board the heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle GSLV-Mk-III, nicknamed Baahubali, would have taken 54 days to accomplish the task of landing on the Moon through meticulously planned orbital phases. After a full dress rehearsal last week, the countdown for the mission commenced at 6.51 am on Sunday and scientists had undertaken various stages of propellant filling to power the rocket ahead of the launch. The men, women and children waiting at a special gallery, set up recently by ISRO, left the venue disappointed as the mission did not go as expected.(With PTI inputs)
The official diplomatic engagements are considered a cornerstone of Foreign Office-requested royal tour, which are financially supported by the British public and must be seen to align with the objectives of the government and further the country’s interests abroad. The Sussex’s visits to South Africa, Angola and Malawi all fall under this remit, while the Duke’s stay in Botswana – classified differently as a “short working visit” – gives him the freedom to focus on his own pet projects centred on conservation and his charity Sentebale. While the Duke has not always appeared fond of the formal aspects of tours, seeming more at ease spending time with the public over politicians, his role as the Queen’s ambassador to her Commonwealth will add a new dimension to his diplomatic role. Work to secure the Commonwealth is known to be particularly important to the Queen, who became its head as she ascended to the throne and has seen it grow to 53 countries. South Africa, Botswana and Malawi are already members, with Pres Lourenço saying last year that he would seek to join. The Gambia rejoined last year having once been a member.In June 2018, then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson acknowledged the commitment on Twitter, saying: “Splendid that Angola wants to join the Commonwealth family. V much welcome President Lourenço’s commitment to long-term reform, tackling corruption and improving human rights.” Princess Diana during a visit to Angola, just months before her deathCredit:Reuters He will meet with senior Angolan politicians including the Governor of Huambo Joana Lina, the Minister for Health, and be given an audience with President João Lourenço at the Presidential Palace. Speaking ahead of the royal tour, a senior source involved in its planning said: “There is very much a Commonwealth theme to this visit. It is one of his grandmother’s greatest legacies, the Commonwealth family of nations that has grown under her reign into her pride and joy. So when the Duke of Sussex visits Angola later this month he will have quite the task on his hands, as he attempts to cement Britain’s relationship with a country on the cusp of joining. Angola, one of the four countries the Duke will visit as part of his tour in Africa with his wife and baby son, has indicated it hopes to become the 54th country in the Commonwealth, and the first newcomer in a decade. The British government, which has arranged the tour via the Foreign Office, has suggested it would warmly welcome its inclusion, with those planning the tour considering the attentions of the Royal Family a way of “demonstrating the attraction of that new network of partners”. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––The Duke, who has been appointed as a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador by the Queen, has already spoken of his ambition to work with the young people of the organisation, so far delivering speeches praising their energy and talents and appearing at a series of lively engagements. His trip to Angola, which he will undertake without the Duchess as she remains in South Africa with Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, will see him tasked with rising to a more senior diplomatic challenge. “Interestingly Angola, which is not a member of the Commonwealth traditionally and historically, is interested in becoming a member. “So there’s a nice thing there about demonstrating the attraction of that new network of partners.” A source added that the Duke and Duchess were considered “fantastic ambassadors” for Britain to the “vibrant” continent of Africa, and its “extremely young” populations. The Angolan leg of the programme will focus heavily on landmines, with the Duke highlighting the legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales, in the region. He will spend an evening in a new HALO Trust de-mining camp, before he remotely detonates a mine in a field outside Dirico and makes a speech underlining why it is so important for rural communities which are often left isolated by dangerous leftover weapons. He will also undertake an “official” section of the trip, travelling to Huambo to meet with the Governor, Joana Lina, who was also the official host for the late Princess Diana’s visit.At Huambo Orthopaedic Centre, also visited by his mother in 1997, he will spend time with the Minister for Health before attending a tradition royal tour reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence to meet businessmen and women working with the UK. On Saturday, September 28, the Duke will have an audience with President Lourenço at the Presidential Palace.