India fires rocket toward moon after week-long delay

July 22 (UPI) — India succeeded Monday on its second attempt at firing a rocket toward the moon.

The GSLV-MkIII heavy lift rocket lifted off at the Indian Space Research Organization’s Andhra Pradesh Sriharikota launch site. The unmanned mission will deliver payloads to the moon and lunar orbit, including a lander-rover to study the soil. It’s scheduled to make a landing on the moon in early September.

The first attempt at firing the rocket was called off at the last minute a week ago after officials found a “technical snag” in the assembly.

The rocket will remain in Earth orbit for three weeks and conduct various maneuvers to move away from the planet’s gravitational pull. In 23 days it will enter lunar gravity and initiate the lunar landing in 43 days, officials said.

If it succeeds, India will become the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface. The mission will last for two weeks, or one lunar day, and the orbiter will circle the moon for more than a year to map the surface and look for water. With the revised schedule, the module will remain in the lunar orbit for 13 days instead of 28.

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