India successfully launches its first lunar lander bound for the Moon

India’s Vikram lander, with it the Pragyan rover, before launch

Early this morning, India launched its very first lunar lander bound for the surface of the Moon. The spacecraft will spend the next month and a half traveling through space before attempting a touch down on the lunar surface in September. If successful, India will become the fourth nation to ever land a vehicle intact on the Moon.

The lander is just one of a handful of vehicles headed to the Moon as part of India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission. It’s a follow up to Chandrayaan-1, India’s very first robotic mission to the Moon. That initiative, launched in 2008, successfully put a spacecraft in orbit around the Moon, as well as sent a probe crashing into the lunar surface. Those vehicles made some significant discoveries, most notably confirming…

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