India's moon mission lifts off, hopes to probe lunar south pole

A rocket carrying the unmanned Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft (above) blasted off from a southern Indian space centre on July 22, 2019.
A rocket carrying the unmanned Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft (above) blasted off from a southern Indian space centre on July 22, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SRIHARIKOTA/BENGALURU (REUTERS) - India launched a rocket into space on Monday (July 22) to perform a soft landing of a rover on the moon, the country's most ambitious mission yet to cement its position as a leading low-cost space power.

The 10-billion rupee (S$197.2 million) mission, if successful, will enable India to carry out studies on the presence of water on the south pole of the moon. Only the United States, Russia and China have been on the moon.

The rocket, carrying the unmanned Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, blasted off from a southern Indian space centre to cheers from thousands of onlookers, a live telecast showed. The launch had been delayed by a week due to a technical snag.