India on Monday dramatically scrapped the launch of a rocket that was aiming to land a probe on the Moon less than one hour before blast-off because of a “technical” problem.
India wants the Chandrayaan-2 – or Moon Chariot 2 – mission to make it only the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to land a craft on the lunar surface.
Countdown at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre was halted 56 minutes and 24 seconds before the planned liftoff at 2:51 am (2121 GMT Sunday).
“A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at T-56 minute,” the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Twitter.
“As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later.”
Officials at the space centre on an island off the coast of Andhra Pradesh state said the problem was in the launch vehicle system.
ISRO had announced one hour before launch that the filling of liquid hydrogen fuel had been completed.
The agency did not say when a new launch could be held.