In a significant stride forward in space exploration, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched its third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3. The spacecraft lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, marking the beginning of a six-week journey to the Moon.
The objectives of the mission include demonstrating a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface, demonstrating rover roving on the moon, conducting in-situ scientific experiments, gathering data on the polarization of light reflected by Earth, measuring the density of ions and electrons near the surface of the Moon and its changes over time, measuring the temperature of the moon’s surface near the polar region, scanning for moonquakes around the landing site, delineating the structure of the lunar crust and mantle, and understanding the dynamics of the Moon system.
The mission comprises a Lunar Orbiter, Lander, and Rover, all proudly developed by India. The orbiter will map the lunar surface from an altitude of 100 km, while the Lander is designed to perform a soft landing on the Moon at a predetermined site and deploy the Rover.
Here’s the timeline of the Chandrayaan-3 mission as described in the article:
1. Launch: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-3 from a launch pad in Sriharikota in Odisha at 2.30pm. The spacecraft was launched on a GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle.
2. Leaving Earth: Chandrayaan-3 will make five orbit maneuvers around the Earth, each time increasing the distance it swings away from the Earth. After it completes the fifth maneuver, it begins to move towards the moon.
3. Reaching Moon: Similar to the orbit maneuvers around the Earth, Chandrayaan-3 will orbit the moon four times, each time coming closer. Eventually, it will reach a circular orbit of 100 km x 100 km.
4. Preparation for Landing: At this point, the lander separates from the propulsion module, and alters its orbit so it comes as close as 30 km to the moon. Then, the lander commences soft-landing procedures.
5. Landing on Moon: The journey of Chandrayaan-3 from Earth to the moon for the spacecraft is estimated to take about a month and the landing is expected on 23 August. Upon landing, it will operate for one lunar day, which is approximately 14 Earth days.
Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-up to the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which aimed to land on the South Pole of the Moon. Despite the lander Vikram’s hard landing in September 2019, the mission provided valuable lessons that have been incorporated into the planning and execution of Chandrayaan-3.
This mission is a testament to India’s ongoing commitment to space exploration, following the successful Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also known as Mangalyaan. Since 2014, Mangalyaan has been orbiting Mars, providing a wealth of data about the Red Planet.
With the successful launch of Chandrayaan-3, India continues to make its mark in the field of space exploration. The world watches with anticipation as the spacecraft embarks on its journey, promising new insights and discoveries about our celestial neighbor.