STATE TIMES NEWSBengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked ISRO scientists to not get disheartened by the setback in the Chandrayaan-2 mission and asserted that there will be a “new dawn and brighter tomorrow very soon” after this learning experience. ISRO’s plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent. Modi delivered a message of optimism, solidarity and hope to scientists in an address, which was broadcast live, seeking to rally the nation around the Indian Space Research Organisation, hours after it announced it had lost communication with the lander. The nation is proud of them and stands with them, he said. “We came very close but we need to cover more ground in the times to come. Learning from today will make us stronger and better. The nation is proud of our space programme and scientists. The best is yet to come in our space programme. There are new frontiers to discover and new places to go. India is with you,” Modi said. “Effort was worth it and so was the journey. It will make us stronger and better. There will be a new dawn and brighter tomorrow very soon… I am with you, nation is with you,” he added.
‘My PM is human’: Twitter reacts to PM Modi consoling ISRO chiefNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gesture of giving a tight hug and consoling the ISRO chief K Sivan, who got emotional because of the setback in the Chandrayaan-2 mission, was widely praised on social media. When PM Modi was greeting Sivan before leaving the ISRO control centre in Bengaluru, he got emotional and PM then leaned forward, hugged and patted his shoulder. This happened minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the ISRO control centre in Bengaluru after ‘Vikram’, the lander, lost contact with the ground station just ahead of the soft landing. In his address, Modi said: “The best is yet to come in our space programme. India is with you”. PM Modi’s motivational speech and the warm hug to ISRO chief garnered loads of praises on social media. Daniel Carmon, the former Israeli ambassador to India and Sri Lanka lauded PM’s gesture. “What a gesture” From Union leaders to common citizens, everyone took the twitter to appreciate the act. ”India is with you”, ”Proud of our scientists”, “My PM is human” , ”You both have won millions heart” , “heartwarming gesture”, ”more than trillion words of appreciation” The mission that started on July 22 with the launch of the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft achieved one milestone after another in a phased manner. However, the Vikram module lost contact minutes before the crucial touchdown on the lunar surface in the early hours of Saturday. The landing module, which was supposed to carry out various tests on the lunar soil, completed the rough braking phase as planned and entered the phase of fine braking phase till the altitude of 2.1 km. There were cheers and clapping both at the mission control centre and the area where media was stationed, as Vikram’s descent was on as planned at that time. But, disappointment was palpable on the faces of the ISRO scientists within minutes as they stopped getting any communication from the lander. Soon, ISRO chief K Sivan approached his colleagues and started intense discussions, along with his predecessor A S Kiran Kumar. Sivan then went up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was seated in the gallery and communicated to him about what had happened. Modi had arrived at Bengaluru by a special flight only to witness the soft-landing from here. Sivan’s other predecessors K Radhakrishnan, K Kasturirangan joined the prime minister and patted Sivan on the shoulder to cheer him up. Modi then got up from the seat and walked down to the place where ISRO scientists and engineers were seated, and had a chat with them. Before departing, the Modi tried to boost the morale of the ISRO team saying that the nation was proud of them. “There is no need to get disappointed because it is not a small achievement. The country is proud of you,” Modi said in his address to the scientists and students gathered there. Gathering himself from the setback, Sivan made the announcement that communication has been lost with the lander. Referring to the challenges in executing the soft landing of Vikram module named after the father of India’s space programme Vikram Sarabhai, Sivan had earlier termed it as “terrifying” moment, as the ISRO has not done it before. He had noted the success rate of soft landing modules launched by other agencies had been only 37 per cent.
Praising the scientists, he said they ventured where no one previously went and India is proud of each and every one of them, and expressed confidence that they will achieve success in the next attempt. The Prime Minister sought to lighten the mood in the moments of disappointment for scientists, saying the moon has been so much romanticised in poems and literature that Chandrayaan in its last steps ran to embrace it, a reference to Vikram’s failure to lower its speed as planned during its descent to the lunar surface.
This is how poets will describe it, he said, adding the will to touch the moon has now become stronger and more intense.
Modi watched the proceedings at an ISRO centre here as the lander began its descent.
The Prime Minister began his near 25-minute speech, delivered in a mix of Hindi and English, with “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” (Hail Mother India) slogan, and said he could understand the feelings of scientists when it became clear that Chandrayaan-2’s final journey did not go as per plan.
“Your eyes said a lot and I could read the sadness on your face. I have lived those moments with you,” he said, adding that this was why he did not stay for long with them in the early hours and came back in the morning, not to preach them but to be inspired by them.
He was also seen hugging and consoling a visibly disappointed and emotional ISRO chief K Sivan.
“When the message of communication cut-off with the mission was received, you were all shaken,” Modi said, as he sought to lift their morale, asserting it will strengthen their resolve for future successes.
Modi also recalled a number of ISRO’s successful missions, including the one for Mars, to assert that there is no failure in science but only experiments and efforts.
There will be many more opportunities to be proud of and rejoice, he said, adding that ISRO scientists do now draw lines on a butter cake but on stone.
“You came as close as you could, look ahead,” he said.
There have been disappointing moments in the past but they have not crushed our spirits, he said, adding that “the effort was worth it and so was the journey”.
He called ISRO an “encyclopedia of successes” and said a few moments of halt cannot push its flight “out of trajectory” and that no hindrance can stop India from realising its dreams and aspiration in the 21st century.
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