Chandrayaan-3 | All you need to know about India’s historic third mission to the moon

Chandrayaan-3 at the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on July 13, 2023.

Chandrayaan-3 at the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on July 13, 2023.
| Photo Credit: PTI

India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), began the launch of the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission to explore the Moon on July 14, 2023, by making a soft landing on the natural satellite of Earth. Building upon the success of its predecessors, Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2, the third lunar mission is set to push the boundaries of space discovery and innovation.

Just under four years after the launch of Chandrayaan-2, Chandrayaan-3 takes off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Andhra Pradesh perched on the back of a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-MK III) heavy-lift rocket, on July 14, 2023. The mission is a prime example of India’s growing commitment towards advancing its presence in the global space community.

According to ISRO, the Chandrayaan-3 mission has three major objectives:

  1. Demonstrate safe and soft landing on the surface of the Moon,
  2. Conduct rover operations on the Moon, and
  3. Conduct on-site experiments on the Lunar surface.

In 2019, Chandrayaan-2, captured the world’s attention when it successfully placed the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover near the Moon’s South Pole. But the mission experienced partial setbacks. The Vikram lander on Chandrayaan-2 had crashed on the lunar surface while attempting to land. Despite the mishap, it still marked a significant achievement in India’s space history.

If the Chandrayaan-3 mission lifts off on July 14 as planned, the lander would be ready to soft-land on the lunar surface by August, according to S. Somanath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Mr. Somanath also said that the space agency has incorporated major improvements in the lander for the upcoming mission. This includes stronger ‘legs’ for the lander, the ability to withstand a higher descending velocity and a reduction in the number of engines from five to four. ‘‘We have also increased the quantity of the propellant, and solar panels cover a larger area. New sensors also have been added,’‘ he said.

Here is comprehensive coverage of the historic mission of the latest updates, exclusive interviews with ISRO scientists, and in-depth analyses of the mission.

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