India Wanted to Be the Fourth Country to Land on the Moon, but the Lander Suddenly Lost Contact

It is reported that the Indian probe tried to make a soft landing in the south pole of the moon and wanted to impact the fourth country of soft landing on the moon, but lost contact at the last moment.

At about 4:20 a.m. Beijing time on September 7, the lunar lander of India's "moon ship 2" tried to land in the south pole of the moon (70.9 degrees south latitude and 22.8 degrees east longitude), but unfortunately, the lander lost contact with the ground when it was 2.1 kilometers away from the lunar surface.

Subsequent analysis shows that when the lander loses contact, the vertical speed to the ground is 59.8 km / h, which is undoubtedly a crash.

If successful, India will become the fourth country to soft land on the moon. The first three countries are the former Soviet Union, the United States and China. But for now, it's a pity.

Here, I have to mention that on April 12, 2019, the Israeli lunar lander Genesis crashed in the final landing phase.

As early as 2008, India once launched the "moon ship 1" probe to the moon, which is a lunar orbiter, a satellite flying around the moon.

The lunar rover II is the successor of lunar rover I, and its function is much more complex than that of lunar rover I. It includes three parts: orbiter, lander and lunar rover. It can be deployed at one time to detect the moon's orbit, landing and patrol, and mainly conduct scientific research on the geology, landform, minerals and water of the moon's south pole. At present, the orbiter is normal and the design life is one year.

Why did India choose the lunar south pole landing area this time? This is because the previous lunar vessel 1 probe found signs of ice in the permanent shadow of the crater near the south pole of the moon.

The lander also carries a small lunar rover, which relies on solar power to walk on the moon and carry out scientific exploration on the moon, which is similar to our "Jade Rabbit" and "jade rabbit 2" lunar rover.

Review of important nodes of Yuechuan 2

On July 22, the launch was carried out by India's strongest carrier rocket GSLV mark III.

On August 22, "moon ship II" entered an orbit around the moon 100 kilometers high, and then the orbiter and lander were separated.

On August 23, the orbiter of the lunar vessel II sent back pictures taken over the moon.

Structure of Yuechuan 2

Lunar rover II consists of three parts: lunar orbiter, lunar lander and lunar rover. In other words, India hopes to complete the three processes of orbit, landing and patrol through this launch. The concept is very advanced. "Yuechuan 2" costs only 136 million US dollars, and its cost performance is still very high.


The orbiter is actually a lunar satellite. The Indian orbiter weighs 2379 kg, including 1697 kg of fuel. Therefore, the net weight is 682 kg. The orbiter finally runs in a circular orbit 100 kilometers away from the lunar surface, carrying five scientific instruments. It will conduct high-resolution observation on the lunar surface and select a suitable landing site for the lander.


A lander is a probe that lands on the surface of the moon and cannot move freely. We are familiar with "Chang'e 3" and "Chang'e 4".

The Indian lander weighs 1471 kg, with a net weight of 626 kg.

First, the lander and the orbiter enter the orbit together, and then the two are separated. The lander ignites the reverse thrust rocket and adjusts the orbit height to an elliptical orbit of 100 km from the far lunar point and 30 km from the near lunar point. After berthing in this orbit for a period of time and checking all instruments, we will try to land.

Lunar rover

Lunar rover is a probe that can walk freely on the lunar surface. Generally speaking, it is a lunar rover. The Indian lunar rover is very small, weighs only 27 kg, has six wheels and travels slowly at a speed of 1 cm per second. Solar panels can provide 50 watts of electrical power.

How did the moon ship 2 fly to the moon?

How the probe reaches the moon depends largely on the rocket. The GSLV Mark III rocket is responsible for this launch mission. This rocket is designed for launching geosynchronous satellites. It is good at sending the load into the geosynchronous transfer orbit, but has no ability to send the load directly into the orbit of direct flight to the moon.

In this case, it is necessary to adopt a track design scheme similar to "swing". First, the rocket sent the probe to a long elliptical orbit with a perigee of 170 kilometers and a apogee of 40000 kilometers. The subsequent orbital climb depends on the probe itself.

Whenever the probe reaches the perigee, it will start its own engine to raise the apogee height once. After several times of elevation, it will touch the lunar orbital height. When the probe meets the moon, with the help of the engine, it will be captured by the gravity of the moon and become a satellite around the moon.

This kind of orbital flight mode consumes more time, which is the result of the compromise of insufficient rocket thrust. At that time, China's Chang'e-1 also adopted this flight mode.

It is reported that India also plans to launch the lunar ship 3 probe for lunar sampling and return in 2023 or 2024.

A brief history of human lunar exploration

From 1959 to 1976, the former Soviet Union launched more than 60 probes to the moon, creating many world firsts, including photographing the back of the moon for the first time and collecting lunar rocks for three times to return to the earth.

By the end of 2017, the United States had launched more than 60 probes and manned spacecraft to the moon. China 4 times, Japan 2 times, Europe 1 time, India 2 times. Successful include:

From 1961 to 1968, the American "prowler" series aircraft, the "lunar orbit" series aircraft and the "surveyor" series lunar landers paved the way for the subsequent Apollo lunar landing program.

From 1969 to 1972, the United States implemented the Apollo program and successfully landed on the moon for six times, sending 12 astronauts to the moon.

From 1994 to 1999, the data of Clementine and lunar prospector in the United States showed that there may be water ice in the polar regions of the moon.

On September 27, 2003, ESA's "smart one" probe was launched. It was the first ESA probe to fly to the moon. After completing its scientific mission, it actively hit the lunar surface on September 3, 2006.

From 2007 to 2008, Japan's "moon goddess" and "Chang'e-1" successfully entered the lunar orbit, and then India's "moon ship 1" successively entered the lunar orbit.

In 2008, India launched the lunar ship-1 probe to the moon, which proved for the first time that there was water ice in the permanent shadow area of the lunar polar crater.

On June 18, 2009, the "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter" and "Lunar Crater Observation and remote sensing satellite" of the United States were launched simultaneously.

On October 1, 2010, the long march 3C carrier rocket carrying the "Chang'e-2" satellite was ignited and launched at Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

On September 10, 2011, the United States launched the Holy Grail. This mission aims to accurately detect and draw the gravity field map of the moon to judge the internal structure of the moon.

On September 6, 2013, the United States launched the "lunar atmosphere and dust environment probe" to detect the escape layer of the lunar atmosphere and the surrounding dust. The probe crashed into the back of the moon on April 18, 2014 and ended its mission.

On December 14, 2013, "chang'e-3" successfully made a soft landing in the northwest of the lunar rain sea, becoming the first probe to make a soft landing on the lunar surface after "moon 24" in 1976, and the third country in the world to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.

On October 23, 2014, the "chang'e-5 T1 tester" was launched to provide experimental verification for the future "chang'e-5" probe to re-enter the atmosphere at the second cosmic speed. On November 1, 2014, the returner successfully landed in the scheduled area of Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia, and the reentry and return flight test of phase III of China's lunar exploration project was a complete success.

On January 3, 2019, the chang'e-4 probe successfully made a soft landing on the back of the moon, making China the first country to make a soft landing on the back of the moon.

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