India Launches Chandrayaan-3 Mission, Set to Land Spacecraft on the Moon

(Image:AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
India has launched their unmanned spacecraft as part of a mission to land their rover on the Moon.

Chandrayaan-3 took off from the launch facility in Sriharikota, along with the orbiter, lander, and rover, on July 14 at 2:35 PM local time.

Chandrayaan-3, which means "moon vehicle" in Sanskrit, successfully separated from the LVM3 rocket and entered Earth's orbit, beginning its fuel-efficient journey to the Moon.

If the mission goes as planned, India will become the fourth country, after the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, to land on the Moon.

The spacecraft will undertake a journey lasting over a month before landing on the lunar surface in August.

The mission's landing site is a 2.5-mile by 1.5-mile area located at 69.367621 degrees south latitude and 32.348126 degrees east longitude.

Interestingly, this landing zone is close to the planned landing site of Russia's Luna 25 spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch in August 2023.

As reported by The Guardian, this launch is a continuation of India's efforts following the unsuccessful landing of their spacecraft on the Moon about four years ago.

During the Chandrayaan-2 mission, the lander and rover were lost due to a software error.

"Congratulations, India. Chandrayaan-3 has embarked on its journey to the Moon," said Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, Director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Previous Failed Moon Landing in 2019

The successful launch was celebrated with applause and cheers in the mission control room at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, where engineers and scientists closely monitored the mission.

The six-wheeled lander and rover of Chandrayaan-3 are equipped with payloads that will provide scientific data about the properties of the Moon's soil and rocks, including their chemical composition and elements.

Previously, India attempted to land a robotic spacecraft near the Moon's south pole, an area rarely explored, but the mission failed in 2019.

Although it entered lunar orbit, contact was lost when the lander crashed during its final descent while deploying the rover to search for signs of water.

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According to the failure analysis report submitted to ISRO, the damage was caused by a software error.

The $140 million mission in 2019 aimed to study the Moon's permanently shadowed craters, believed to contain water deposits, which were confirmed by the Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008.

Somanath stated that the main objective of this mission is a safe and smooth landing on the Moon.

India's Journey to the Moon

According to The Economic Times, the first Chandrayaan-1 mission was launched on October 22, 2008. After entering the Lunar Transfer Trajectory as planned, the impactor was released and crashed near the Moon's south pole.

The mission confirmed the presence of water molecules on the Moon's surface. On August 28, 2009, the end of the first mission was announced by ISRO.

On the other hand, the second Chandrayaan-2 mission was launched on July 22, 2019, and entered lunar orbit on August 20.

On September 2, 2019, the lander Vikram separated while orbiting the Moon at a distance of 100 km. However, contact with the Earth station was lost at an altitude of 2.1 km above the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan-3 is a continuation of the second lunar mission. According to the scientists involved in this project, Chandrayaan-3 is expected to address challenges better than the previous two missions.

Furthermore, Chandrayaan-3 is the first major mission for India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a policy to boost investment in space launches and satellite-based businesses.

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