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.
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.