India’s space agency says it has launched an unmanned spacecraft to the far side of the moon a week after aborting the mission due to a technical problem.

Scientists at the mission control centre burst into applause as the rocket carrying the unmanned Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft lifted off in clear weather as scheduled at 2:43 p.m. local time Monday.

Chandrayaan, the Sanskrit word for moon craft, is designed to land on the lunar south pole in September and send a rover to explore water deposits confirmed by a previous mission that orbited the moon.

The misson’s scheduled launch a week ago was called off less than an hour before liftoff due to a “technical snag.”

The liftoff marks India’s bid to become only the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the moon. Only the United States, Russia and China have accomplished the feat.

A television screengrab shows Monday’s launch of Chandrayaan, or Moon Chariot 2, at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, an island off the coast of India’s southern Andhra Pradesh state. (Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images)

India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water.

India plans to send its first manned spaceflight by 2022.


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