David and his slingshot: How Isro customised rocket science

ISRO Chandrayaan Moon Mission

The first-ever cosmic rocket, a spacecraft escaping the earth's gravity, the Soviet Union’s Luna-1 flew past the moon in just 34 hours. That was way back in 1959. This was soon followed by the first-ever moon impact probe, the Soviet’s Luna-2, that took only 36 hours.

The Apollo and Luna missions of America and the Soviet Union in the 1960s typically reached the moon in four to five days. Even though the Vikram lander failed in the last three minutes of its torturous descent, from the launch to attempt-landing on the moon, Chandrayaan-2 took 48 days.

While the Soviet and the US seemed to have travelled to the moon on a jet plane, we were doing so on a bullock cart. Why?

Hare and the tortoise

To continue reading this article...

You have to be a Premium Subscriber

Start your subscription with a free trial

Enjoy unlimited Eighth column, archives and games on
thefederal.com and many more features.
You will also be supporting ethical and unbiased journalism.
plans start from Rs. 149