(Bloomberg) -- India is all set for a second attempt at reaching the moon, with a liftoff scheduled for this afternoon following last week’s aborted launch.
The unmanned Chandrayaan-2, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, will make a fresh attempt to launch at 2:43 p.m. local time, Indian officials confirmed. Last Monday, the mission was postponed less than an hour before launch because of a technical problem.
A second attempt just days after the failed one is sooner than some experts predicted, underscoring India’s confidence in the project. Another failure would be a further setback to an ambitious plan to become the first nation to land on the south pole of Earth’s closest neighbor, 50 years after man first walked on the moon.
India is seeking to join an elite club of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. and China in making a soft landing on the moon, in which vehicles touch down without damage. According to the original schedule, its spacecraft was set to land on Sept. 6.
Space-faring nations, as well as billionaires Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, are competing in an unofficial space race, from launching satellites to sending astronauts and paying tourists into space.
The aim of the Chandrayaan-2 mission is to explore virgin territory on the lunar surface and analyze crust samples for signs of water and helium-3. That isotope is limited on Earth yet so abundant on the moon that it theoretically could meet global energy demands for 250 years if harnessed.
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