"After the performance of Chandrayaan-1, which found evidence of water on the lunar surface during its one year of operation, the Indian Space agency was working on Chandrayaan-2 along with the Russians," Dr Annadurai said. "ISRO was to make a modified orbiter and Russia was to come up with a lander. But it so happened that the Russians backed out, stating that they had to modify their lander," he added. While the Russians had stepped back with regards delivering the lander, India still had an orbiter ready, but also knew that making a lander in-house would take another 7-8 years. That was when the idea of using the existing orbiter to fulfil another mission struck the ISRO team.
APJ Abdul Kalam wanted to witness 'Mangalyaan' launch, reveals former ISRO chief Radhakrishnan in his memoir
According to Radhakrishnan, the former president wanted to witness the launch of Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) - India's first interplanetary mission – also known as Mangalyaan, on September 24, 2014 but had to leave Bengaluru with 'childlike reluctance' the day before as he had a university convocation to address.