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Space Technology

India launches delayed low-cost rocket

India's space research probe Chandrayaan 2 launched on the Mk III-M1, in Sriharikota, 22 July 2019
India's space research probe Chandrayaan 2 launched on the Mk III-M1, in Sriharikota, 22 July 2019 Indian Space Research Organisation/Handout via REUTERS

India on Monday launched a low-cost rocket in a bid to put a landing craft on the surface of the Moon. Chandrayaan-2's initial launch was called off just before blast-off last week. 

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Chandrayaan-2, in English, Moon Chariot 2, took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andra Pradesh.

India hope the rocket will make it the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon. Russia, the United States and China are the three who have already carried off the feat.

The plan is for the Indian probe to land on the lunar South Pole in early September.

India has never sent a manned craft into space.

President Ram Nath Kovind was there to watch the launch, a source of national pride.

The US state department said on Twitter that the launch was "an incredible achievement", and the European Space Agency sent congratulations.

Moon mission
The 2.4-tonne orbiter is expected to circle the Moon for about a year, to take images of the surface, look for signs of water, and study the atmosphere.

The new mission comes almost 11 years after the launch of India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, which orbited the Moon and searched for water.

Chandrayaan-2 is considered to be low in cost in comparison to that for similar missions carried out by other countries. The India launch preparations cost about $140 million.

The United States Apollo mission, 50 years ago saw astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first human to step on the Moon.

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