India's moon mission Chandrayaan-2 successfully launched as India takes a giant leap

File photo: Chandrayaan-2 lifted off from Sriharikota. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh Jul 22, 2019, 02.48 PM (IST)

Chandrayaan-2, the second generation moon mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), lifted off from the Satish Dhawan centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The launch took place at 2:43 pm IST on Monday.

A few minutes later, ISRO announced the launch was successful.

"The GSLV Mk-III successfully injected Chandrayaan-2 in defined orbit today. It is the beginning of historical journey of India to moon and land near its South Pole to carry out experiments and explore the unexplored," said a beaming ISRO chief K Sivan.

"After a serious technical snag before the last launch, which we fixed, ISRO bounced back with flying colours. Immediately after the technical snag observed, the entire team swung into action. The 24 hours (after the first lauch was cancelled) were significant," he added.

I salute the people who made it happen, said Sivan.

This was the second attempt by ISRO to launch Chandrayaan-2 after the first attempt had to be called off at the 11th hour on July 15.

Chandrayaan-2 will explore a region of Moon where no mission has ever set foot. The spacecraft consists of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover together referred to as "composite body."

The probe's total mass is 3.8 tonne and is expected to land on the Moon's south polar region on September 6 or 7 this year.It will be the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface. The rover will remain on the moon for 14 days.

This mission will make India the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to carry out a soft landing on Moon.

Once it's in lunar orbit 100 kilometres above the surface, the spacecraft will send a lander on a controlled descent to the surface.

Watch: India's moon mission lifts off, hopes to probe lunar south pole

The lander will then release a six-wheeled solar-powered rover that will cover about 200 metres of lunar territory.

The aim of the fourteen-day mission is to examine the surface, gathering data on minerals and even water in the form of ice.

India has spent about $140 million to get Chandrayaan-2 ready for the 384,400 kilometres (around 240,000 miles) trip.

The United States spent about $25 billion - the equivalent of more than $100 billion in current prices - on 15 Apollo missions, including the six that put Armstrong and other astronauts on the Moon.

China landed its Chang'e 4 lunar craft in January, and spent $8.4 billion on its entire space programme in 2017, according to international Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development figures.

And Russia - the first country to land an unmanned moon rocket in 1966 - spent more than $20 billion at today's values on lunar missions in the 1960s and 70s.