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Former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair says UPA government delayed Chandrayaan-2 mission

G Madhavan Nair on Wednesday claimed that the Chandrayaan-2 mission could have been carried out long ago but the "political decision" of the then UPA government to push the "Mangalyaan" venture with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha election caused the delay.

Yesterday, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)  released the first pictures of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon and its Chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan announced July 15 as its launch date.

While India exults this milestone development under the Modi led government, former chairman of ISRO, G. Madhavan Nair (2003-2009), has made some sensational disclosures over the delay in India’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1.

G Madhavan Nair on Wednesday claimed that the Chandrayaan-2 mission could have been carried out long ago but the “political decision” of the then UPA government to push the “Mangalyaan” venture with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha election caused the delay.

G Madhavan Nair, who architected Chandrayaan-1, India’s first unmanned mission to the moon launched on October 22, 2008, had announced in August 2009, that Chandrayaan-2 was slated for launch towards the end of 2012.

Nair alleged that the UPA government wanted to show “some major event” (the Mangalyaan Mars orbiter mission) before the 2014 election. “With that objective, they (UPA government) went ahead (with the Mangalyaan mission),” he said.

Interestingly, though the Mangalyaan launch took place during the UPA regime (November 2013), the spacecraft reached the Mars orbit during the Narendra Modi government (September 2014), Nair noted. “So, it did not serve the purpose (of the then UPA regime). More of a political thing (to take up the Mars mission, ahead of Chandrayaan-2) than technical,” he said.

“Almost half the work (for Chandrayaan-2) was done earlier, but all those things were diverted for the Mars mission. So, we (ISRO) had to start from scratch. Only after this (Modi) regime came (in 2014), they reinstated the old programme (Chandrayaan-2),” Nair told PTI. Nair praised ISRO for rendering the mission in “minimum time”.

Apart from this, ISRO committed to honouring the wish the Prime Minister, has been working steadfast to send three Indians to space by 2022. Recently, ISRO signed an MoU with the Indian Air Force (IAF) to select and train astronauts for India’s first manned mission, the Gaganyaan project, Modi’s dream mission.

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