ISRO’s lunar mission: Chandrayaan-3 lifts off, landing on Aug 23-24

The rocket will orbit the earth for about 5-6 times in an elliptical cycle with 170 km closest and 36,500 km farthest from earth moving towards the lunar orbit

Mission Moon

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh): Mounted on Launch Vehicle Mark (LVM)-3, Chandrayaan-3, a lunar mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to explore moon’s surface, successfully lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, at 2.35 PM IST on Friday (July 14). This is the third lunar exploration mission of the ISRO.

Earlier, it had sent Chandrayaan-2 by which scientists at ISRO aimed to demonstrate various capabilities including reaching the orbit of the moon, making a soft-landing on the lunar surface using a lander, and a rover coming out of the lander to study the surface of the moon.

Reports from ISRO said that the propulsion module successfully separated from the rocket after 16 minutes of its launch. The rocket will orbit the earth for about 5-6 times in an elliptical cycle with 170 km closest and 36,500 km farthest from earth moving towards the lunar orbit. The lander, the crucial part of the mission, is expected to land around 40 days after the launch, on August 23 or 24, depending up on further conditions.

Also Read: ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 to lift off on lunar mission on July 13

If successful, India will also become only the fourth nation in the world to land on the lunar surface, after the US, the erstwhile Soviet Union, and China. The latter so far is the only nation to have successfully landed a rover on the moon in its very first attempt.

Chandrayaan-3 has started making its journey towards the moon, and will make orbit-raising maneuvers in its journey to the moon in the coming days,” confirmed ISRO chief, S Somanath, shortly after the successful deployment in orbit. Chandrayaan-3 was developed by ISRO at a cost of ₹615 crore, and will seek to put India on the roadmap of countries seeking to grab a piece of the lunar race.

PM Modi lauds ISRO’s feat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi commended ISRO for successful lift of Chandrayaan-3 and said upon the launch that the successful launch is “a testament to (India’s) scientists’ relentless dedication”.

Chandrayaan-3 payloads

The main propulsion module of Chandrayaan-3 includes a payload called Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE)—according to ISRO, the payload will collect spectral and polarimetric data of Earth from the moon, in order for India to better study faraway exoplanets and detect properties that may exhibit signs of life.

The lander module’s payloads include Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA), which will study plasma formations near the lunar surface to analyze lunar atmosphere conditions. Others include Chandra’s Surface Thermo physical Experiment (ChaSTE), Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) and LASER Retroreflector Array (LRA), while the rover module’s payloads include LASER Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

The entire array of scientific payloads will contribute to photo-chemical scientific observations and experiments on the lunar surface.

Also Read: ISRO places Indian navigation satellite in geo stationary orbit

Major mission objectives

The three mission objectives, according to Isro, include the soft-landing of the mission’s rover on the south pole of the lunar surface, demonstrating the rover’s capability of traversing lunar surfaces, and conducting scientific experiments that include studying lunar ice formations within craters. Chandrayaan-3, as per Isro statements, could become the first to collect lunar ice samples.

Landing is important: ISRO chief

ISRO chairman S Somnath said, “Chandrayaan3 is a very important step…Landing this time is very important. Unless you land, you cannot take samples, you cannot land human beings, you cannot create moon bases. So, landing is one important step for further exploration.”

Former ISRO chief hopes for successful touch down of Chandrayaan-3

ISRO has taken corrective measures after the failed bid to soft-land on the Moon nearly four years ago, and is expecting a successful touch down on the lunar surface with Chandrayaan-3, its former Chairman K Sivan said on Friday. Noting that it is going to be a challenging job, Sivan said “This is a very important launch, and we have done it successfully.”

Also Read: ISRO conducts autonomous landing of reusable launch vehicle

Humans landed on moon 50 years ago

Humans landed on the Moon almost fifty years ago, however, to date, this remains an extremely difficult task to achieve. On 21 July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the Moon. He was joined by Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin 19 minutes later.

India has taken a lead in space tech: Jitendra Singh

“India has taken a lead in space technology… Today Americans also value Indian talent and astronauts.. Infact they are looking to send an Indian astronaut in space…I am so proud that we all witnessed the history in making… I also thank PM Modi and congratulate the ISRO team,” Union Minister of state for Science and Technology Dr. Jitendra Singh said.

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