Ex-ISRO Chief: Didn’t go home until I saw the rover move across the moon’s surface

Former ISRO chairman K Sivan was overjoyed yesterday night as Chandrayaan-3 touched down on the lunar surface to the cheers of 1.4 billion Indians, nearly four years after Chandrayaan-2’s failure left him in tears.
“…Our prayers were finally answered. We did not return home once we landed. Until the rover descended from the lander, I was seated in the control room. I didn’t leave until I saw the rover move across the moon’s surface. I got home late last night,” he said. Sivan described the joy and excitement that filled the ISRO control room when the Vikram lander touched down on the lunar surface in a statement to the news agency ANI.

Following the successful landing last evening, Sivan said, “For this, we have been waiting for the last four years. This success is sweet news for us and for the entire nation.”

When Chandrayaan-2 attempted a moon landing close to the southern polar region in 2019, Sivan was in charge of the Indian space agency. On July 22, the spacecraft was launched, and on September 6, it was supposed to touch down. The lander attempted to land on the moon, but it veered off course, lost contact with mission control, and came to a violent crash on the moon’s surface. Then, ISRO had attributed this to a computer error.

The ISRO team was severely hurt by the setback since despite their best efforts, the project’s goals were not met. The somber event will always be remembered for Sivan sobbing as Prime Minister Narendra Modi consoled him.

Current ISRO Chairman S. Somanath explained how the space agency had concentrated on what went wrong in 2019 to ensure a smooth landing this time in the lead-up to Chandrayaan-3.