India aborted the launch on Monday of a spacecraft destined to land on the other side of the moon less than an hour before takeoff.
The Chandrayaan-2 mission was canceled when a "technical obstacle" was observed in the 14-story, 640-ton rocket launcher, the spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organization, B.R. Guruprasad said.
The countdown stopped abruptly at T-56 minutes, 24 seconds, and Guruprasad said the agency would announce a revised release date soon.
Chandrayaan, the word for "art of the moon" in Sanskrit, is designed for a soft landing at the lunar south pole and for sending a scout vehicle to explore water reservoirs confirmed by a previous Indian space mission.
With India with nuclear weapons prepared to become the fifth largest economy in the world, the nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is eager to show the country's skills in security and technology. If India achieved the soft landing, it would only be the fourth to do so after the United States, Russia and China.
Dr. K. Sivan, president of the Indian Space Research Organization, told a news conference last week that the Chandrayaan-2 mission of about 140 million dollars was the most prestigious in the country to date, partly due to the technical complexities of the soft landing on the lunar surface: an event he described as "frightening 15 minutes".
After the countdown began on Sunday, Sivan visited two Hindu shrines to pray for the success of the mission.
Virtually since its inception in 1962, India's space program has been criticized as inadequate for an overpopulated and developing nation.
But decades of space research have enabled India to develop satellite, communications and remote sensing technologies that help solve everyday problems in the home, from predicting fish migration to predicting storms and floods.
With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this month, the world's largest space agencies are returning their sights to the Moon, seen as ideal test sites for the technologies required for deep space exploration and, with the discovery of the water, as a possible pit stop on the road.
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"The moon is our backyard for training to go to Mars," said Adam Steltzner, NASA's chief engineer responsible for his 2020 mission to Mars.
Due to repeated delays, India lost the opportunity to achieve the first soft landing near the lunar south pole. The Chinese Chang & # 39; e mission landed a lander and a landing vehicle there last January.
The India Chandrayaan-1 mission orbited the Moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water. The Indian Space Research Organization wants the rover of its new mission to explore even further the opposite side of the moon, where scientists believe a basin contains ice water that could help humans do more than plant flags in future manned missions.
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The USA. They are working to send a manned spacecraft to the south pole of the Moon by 2024.
Modi has set a deadline of 2022 for the first manned space flight in India.