Indian spacecraft launched last month is now orbiting moon

The Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-2 which launched on July 22, 2019, has entered the moon’s orbit (Handout/Indian Space Research Organization/AFP)
Updated 20 August 2019

Indian spacecraft launched last month is now orbiting moon

  • The Indian Space Research Organization said it successfully maneuvered Chandrayaan
  • A rover will study permanently shadowed craters that are thought to contain 100 million tons of water

NEW DELHI: An unmanned spacecraft India launched last month began orbiting the moon Tuesday as it approaches the far side to study previously discovered water deposits.
The Indian Space Research Organization said it successfully maneuvered Chandrayaan, the Sanskrit word for “moon craft,” into lunar orbit, nearly a month after it left Earth. The mission is led by two female scientists.
Chandrayaan will continue circling the moon in a tighter orbit until reaching a distance of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the moon’s surface.
The lander will then separate from the orbiter and use rocket fuel to brake as it attempts India’s first moon landing on a relatively flat surface between two craters in the south polar region on Sept. 7.
The success rate of landing on the moon is only 37%, ISRO chairman Dr. K. Sivan said in a news conference. When the semi-autonomous lander decides to land on its own, “it’ll be a mix of feeling, of happiness and tension and more anxiety,” Sivan said.
A rover will study permanently shadowed craters that are thought to contain 100 million tons of water, deposits that were confirmed by a previous Indian moon mission.
Scientists say water and mineral deposits could make the moon a good pit stop for further space travel.


US service member killed in action in Afghanistan

Updated 34 min 34 sec ago

US service member killed in action in Afghanistan

  • The death brings the number of US military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan this year to at least 17
  • The latest US fatality comes after talks between Washington and the Taliban crumbled.

KABUL: An American service member was killed in Afghanistan, the US-led NATO mission said Monday, the latest US fatality after talks between Washington and the Taliban crumbled.
“A US service member was killed in action today in Afghanistan,” NATO’s Resolute Support mission said in a brief statement.
The death brings the number of US military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan this year to at least 17, just as Washington is seeking a way out of its longest war.
NATO did not immediately provide any additional information regarding the circumstances of the deadly incident.
About a week ago, President Donald Trump abruptly called off talks with the Taliban, which were aimed at paving the way for an American withdrawal from Afghanistan following 18 years of armed conflict.
“They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead,” Trump said.
The announcement followed Trump’s cancelation of a top-secret plan to fly Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to the Camp David presidential compound outside Washington for talks.
Trump in part blamed the death of a US soldier in a huge Taliban bombing in Kabul for his change of heart on negotiations.
Until the talks were called off, there had been steadily mounting expectations of a deal that would see the US draw down troop levels in Afghanistan — from roughly 13,000 to about 8,000 next year.
In return, the Taliban would offer security guarantees to keep extremist groups out.
Last week, NATO said the focus of its Resolute Support mission remained “unchanged” — to train and advise local forces.
“NATO will stay in Afghanistan for as long as necessary to ensure the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists,” an alliance official told AFP.