India capable of launching more interplanetary missions, says ISRO chairman

Thiruvananthapuram: ISRO Chairman S Somanath on Saturday said India is capable of launching more interplanetary missions and the objective of the space agency is the overall progress of the country through the expansion of the space sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has long-term vision about the country’s space sector and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all ready to implement it, he told reporters at the international airport here Saturday night.

Somnath reached the Kerala capital for the first time after the historic success of the moon mission.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew down to Bengaluru directly from Greece, to pay tribute to the ISRO scientists.

“As far as we are concerned, not just the soft landing, but the entire aspects of the Chandrayaan-3 were 100 per cent successful. The entire country is proud of it and extending support to us,” he said.

An elated Somnath said he and his colleagues were happy and proud to be part of the great achievement of the ISRO and requested people to continue their support in their future endeavours.

“We are capable to travel more to moon, mars or venus…But, we have to enhance our confidence for that…besides that there should be more investment as well,” he said.

Our space sector should be expanded further contributing to the overall progress of the country and that is the objective of ISRO, he said.

Asked about Aditya-L1, the first space-based Indian observatory to study the sun, Somnath said the satellite is ready and reached Sriharikota.

The launch is expected in the first week of September and the final date would be announced in two days, he said.

“After the launch, it will take 125 days from the earth to reach Lagrange point 1 (L1). We have to wait till then,” Somnath said.

He further said that both the rover and the lander of the Chandrayaan-3 have taken pictures.

The chairman said the ISRO team was waiting for more quality images in the coming days and as of now they were concentrating more on scientific studies and research about moon.

India on Wednesday scripted history as ISRO’s ambitious third moon mission Chandrayaan-3’s Lander Module (LM) touched down on the lunar surface, making it only the fourth country to accomplish the feat, and first to reach the uncharted south pole of earth’s only natural satellite.

Modi on Saturday announced the decision to name the spot where Chandrayaan-3 Vikram lander made soft landing as “Shiv Shakti Point” and the site where the Chandrayaan-2 lander crash-landed on the Moon’s surface in 2019 would be known as “Tiranga Point”.

Also, August 23, the day the Chandrayaan-3 lander touched down on the lunar surface, would be celebrated as National Space Day’, Modi said.