India: Friday’s new attempt to land a drone on the moon

India is set to make another attempt Friday with an unmanned moon landing, the next frontier in a burgeoning space program that is fast approaching those of the world’s major powers.

If the mission is successful, the world’s most populous country with a population of over 1.4 billion will join the very exclusive club of countries that have successfully landed on the moon, namely Russia, the United States and China.

The launch scheduled for Friday at 2:35 pm local time (9:05 GMT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center near Chennai (south) is expected by huge crowds.

K said. “I am very happy and full of hope,” Sivan, head of the Indian Space Research Organization, told AFP during the last attempt to land on the moon.

The latest attempt at the Chandrayaan (“Mooncraft”) program comes after four years of failure, in which the ground crew lost contact shortly before landing on the moon.

But this time, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is hoping for success and is already planning a future manned mission to the Moon.

“We are certain that this mission will be a success and will bring honor and pride to those who worked for it,” Anil G Verma, the main supplier of engines and components for India’s space programme, Godrej and Boyce, told AFP.

The cost of this 14-day mission was $74.6 million, according to the media. The goal is to successfully land a rover, a mobile robot, to explore the lunar surface.

Friday’s mission confirms India’s great ambitions in this field. Since the probe was launched into lunar orbit in 2008, India’s space program has grown exponentially.

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