Why is Sriharikota famous for

Missile launch canceledSetback for the Indian space program

Disappointment in the Indian space center in Sriharikota, north of the southern Indian city of Chennai. Shortly before the start, the countdown for the planned launch of a rocket to the moon was canceled.

There were technical problems, said the spokesman for the Indian space agency ISRO, I.R. Guruprasad known to the assembled journalists:

"A technical malfunction was detected in the launcher system. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, we canceled the countdown 56 minutes before the launch. A new date for a launch will be announced later."

Search for water on the moon

Everything now depends on whether the error is found quickly, said Indian science writer, Pallavan Bagla, on Indian television. The time window for the ambitious Indian moon mission is very small.

"The time for take-off, at exactly 2.51 am, was chosen because it depends on when 'Chandrayaan 2' reaches the moon and when the capsule can land there. That should happen at a time when sunlight is on this area of ​​the moon falls. "

As part of the "Chandrayaan 2" mission, the aim is to search for water in the southern area on the mostly dark side of the moon. The Indian lunar module also has research material from the US space agency NASA on board. According to media reports, almost all components of the "Chandrayaan 2" lunar mission were developed in India.

Setback for space program possible

A demolition shortly before the start is nothing unusual, said Baglan during the broadcast on the Indian television station NDTV. After all, the expensive rocket was preserved and could be used at a later date.

If the technical problems cannot be solved, this would have consequences for the Indian space program. In two or three years' time India is planning a manned space mission and then building its own space station.

"Should there be serious problems with the launch vehicle system, that would be a serious setback for the Indian space program. India wants to send astronauts into space with just such a rocket. And then of course nothing must go wrong."

Russia dropped out of the program

The cost of the Indian lunar mission was given as the equivalent of around 124 million euros, which is little compared to other space programs.

"Chandrayaan 2" was originally an Indo-Russian project that was supposed to start in 2013. But after Russia dropped out as a partner, the Indian space agency developed the plans on its own.

The Indian space center Sriharikota, where the search for water on the moon is supposed to start, is less than 100 kilometers away from the city of Chennai, which has been lying on dry land for weeks. Drinking water for Chennai residents is brought in by train and truck. In many parts of the city, water has stopped coming out of the tap for a long time.