India sends spacecraft to moon's dark side

India's space agency hopes to put its landing craft on the moon's unexplored south pole.
India's space agency hopes to put its landing craft on the moon's unexplored south pole.

India's space agency says it has launched an unmanned spacecraft to the far side of the moon, a week after aborting the mission due to a technical problem.

Scientists at the mission control centre in Sriharikota, off the Bay of Bengal, burst into applause as the rocket lifted off in clear weather as scheduled at 2.43pm local time Monday.

Chandrayaan, the Sanskrit word for mooncraft, is designed to land on the lunar south pole in September and send a rover to explore water deposits that were confirmed by a previous mission which orbited the moon.

India's first moon mission orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water.

India plans to send its first manned spaceflight by 2022.

Australian Associated Press