Watch India’s Chandrayaan-2 moon mission attempt historic lunar landing – NBC News

India is poised to make history on Friday when it attempts to land a spacecraft on the moon. If the landing succeeds, India will become the fourth nation to put a landing craft on the moon and the first to land near the lunar south pole.

Only the U.S., Russia and China have landed spacecraft on the moon. An attempt by Israel in April failed.

The touchdown is scheduled to take place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT on Friday (1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. in India), according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). In advance of the landing, the Vikram lander has separated from its Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which launched into space on July 22 and has been circling the moon since Aug. 20.

The landing will be live-streamed by ISRO starting at 3:40 p.m. EDT.

The 3,200-pound lander is carrying a six-wheeled rover named Pragyan as well as a suite of scientific instruments.

Plans call for the Vikram lander to touch down on a relatively flat plain between two craters. But like all landings on other celestial bodies, this will be a tricky one because of the complicated sequence of rocket firings needed to bring a spacecraft slowly to the surface. In a press briefing in August, ISRO chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan called these sequences the mission’s “most terrifying moments.”

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