Best is yet to come, India is with you : PM Modi to ISRO scientists

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday gave a long and tight hug to an emotional ISRO chief K Sivan, who was in tears, unable to come to termsover lander Vikram’s unsuccessful bid to soft-land on the moon.

New Delhi, Sep 7:  Hours after India lost contact with its moon lander Vikram while descending on early Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cheered hundreds of Indian space scientists and engineers for their hard work and asked them not to get disheartened by the hurdles in the moon mission Chandrayaan-2 and asserted that there will be a “new dawn and better tomorrow”.

ISRO’s plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent.

“India is with you! You are exceptional professionals who have made an incredible contribution to national progress. We are proud of our scientists who gave their best to make our country proud,” said Modi in English and Hindi, while addressing the nation from the lunar mission control centre of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in this tech hub.

Earlier, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan announced that the 1,471kg Vikram descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1km from the moon’s surface.

“Subsequently, communication from the lander to the ground stations was lost. Data is being analysed,” Sivan said from the space agency’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (Istrac) in the city’s northern suburb after Vikram broke off from the lunar orbit and was descending to land between two craters near the moon’s south pole.

Exhorting the scientists to rise above the occasion and scale newer heights of success, the Prime Minister said resilience and tenacity were central to India’s ethos.

“In our glorious history, we have faced moments that may have slowed us but they have never crushed our spirit. We have bounced back again and gone on to do spectacular things. This is why our civilisation stands tall,” asserted Modi.

Noting that there would be a new dawn and a brighter tomorrow very soon, the Prime Minister the effort was as important as the final result.

“I can proudly say that the effort was worth it and so was the journey. Our team worked hard, travelled far and those teachings will always remain with us. The learnings from today will make us stronger and better,” he reiterated.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the disappointment of the team over the setback as the nation of 1.3-billion people could not see Vikram safe landing and its 27kg rover Pragyan rolling out of it for a stroll on the hard lunar surface.

“If a poet was to write about this (snag), he would mention: “Chandrayaan rushed towards Chandrama to hug her…” said Modi in Hindi , drawing applause from the scientists and engineers.

Boosting the morale of Team Chandrayaan-2, Modi inspired it to march on, saying “you came as close as you could. Stay steady and look ahead.”

Lauding the ISRO staff in the hour of crisis, Modi said the nation and the world would stand by them as true to their nature, they ventured into a place where no one had gone before.

“Our determination to get closer to Moon today, has just got stronger,” the Prime Minister claimed.

When Sivan came to see off the Prime Minister and broke down in an emotional outburst, Modi hugged him and consoled him by patting on his back repeatedly.

“You should not lose heart. Do not worry. Be bold and do your best,” Modi is said to have told Sivan in English.

Observing that the country’s determination to land on the Moon has just got stronger despite the setback, the prime minister said the entire nation was awake in solidarity with the space scientists as they had embarked on one of the most ambitious inter-planetary mission.

“We came very close but we will need to cover more ground in the times to come. Every Indian is filled with pride as well as confidence. We are proud of our space programme and scientists… their hard work and determination,” Modi said.

Reminding the ISRO staff that its best was yet to come, the prime minister said there were new frontiers to discover and new places to go.

“We will rise to the occasion and scale new heights of success. The nation is proud of you all for your ambitious attempt to make the mission a success,” said Modi lifting the spirits of the space scientists and engineers.

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