Chandrayaan-3 will make its first attempt to land on Moon’s south polar region. The ISRO’s ambitious mission will soft-alnd on the Moon on 23 August.
indian spacecraft has reached closer to the Moon and is all set to soft-land on the lunar surface by August 23, Wednesday. The ISRO said it successfully reduced the orbit of the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s Lander Module (LM) on Sunday. Launched on 14 July, the lander module of Chandrayaan-3 successfully separated from the Propulsion Module on Thursday, 35 days after the mission was launched.
The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are to demonstrate a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface, to demonstrate rover roving on the Moon, and to conduct in-situ scientific experiments.
On July 14, India is set to revisit the moon after four years. India will try to do what only three nations have accomplished, and what it tried and failed to do in 2019: soft-land a lander on the moon. Everything that comes after — lander experiments and rover deployment — hinges on whether lander Vikram touches down safely on the moon. Here’s a look at the lander, the mission’s timeline and the challenges the moon will throw at Vikram as it begins the landing.
The lander, rover and propulsion modules
The Chandrayaan-3 mission spacecraft will have three modules — orbiter, lander, and rover. The propulsion module is the one that will take the lander and the rover to the moon. This module does not land on the moon and instead settles on a parking orbit of 100 km x 100 km around the moon. The lander and rover, on the other hand, will separate from the propulsion module to land on the moon.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission took aff atop an LVM-3 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 2.35 PM IST on July 14, 2023. After takeoff and separation from the launch module, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft executed multiple manoeuvres climbing to a higher Earth orbit each time before finally injecting itself into a “translunar” orbit on August 5.
Then, on Sunday, August 6, the spacecraft entered a lunar orbit. It first achieved an orbit where it was 164 kilometres from the Moon at its closest and 18,074 kilometres from the Moon at its farthest. It then completed a manoevure which then took it to a 170 by 4313 kilometre orbit. The mission’s next orbit manoevure should happen between 1 PM and 2 PM IST today. This will be followed by two more manoeuvres on August 14 and August 15 till it reaches its final 100 kilometre by 100 kilometre orbit.
After it reaches that final orbit, the spacecraft will start a deboost process where the craft will slow down before the lander module will separate to land on the lunar surface on August 23.
India’s Chandrayaan-3 will attempt to land on the moon’s south pole today. Success for the moon mission will make India the fourth country to master the technology of soft landing on the lunar surface after the US, China and the erstwhile Soviet Union.
According to experts, the final 15 to 20 minutes will determine the success of the mission when Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander with rover Pragyan will make its soft landing.
The live telecast of the event will be available on the ISRO website, its YouTube channel, Facebook, and public broadcaster DD National TV from 5:27 PM.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission was launched on July 14 from India’s main space port in Andhra Pradesh.
On the day of landing, the twenty minutes of terror or T-20 kick in for a nail-biting finish.
- On commands from Bengaluru, the Vikram lander will begin its descent towards the moon surface from an altitude of 25 km.
- In a powered descent, the Vikram lander will start hurtling towards the moon surface at a velocity of 1.68 km per second which is nearly 6048 km per hour -which is almost ten times the velocity of an airplane.
- Vikram lander will then slow down with all its engines firing – but the lander is still almost horizontal to the surface of the moon – this is called the rough braking phase which lasts for about 11 minutes.
- Through some maneuvers, the Vikram lander will be made vertical to the moon surface, with this begins the ‘fine braking phase’.