Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar exploration mission, will make India the fourth country to land its spacecraft on the moon’s surface and demonstrate the country’s abilities for a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface.
The countdown to the mission’s launch will begin on Thursday before liftoff on Friday from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota.
“Mission readiness review completed. The board has authorized the release. The countdown starts tomorrow,” ISRO said in a tweet.
It will be launched on a GSLV Mark 3 Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (LVM 3).
This will be the follow-up attempt by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) after the Chandrayaan-2 mission faced challenges during its soft landing in 2019.
ISRO has completed the ‘Launch Test’ which simulates the entire launch preparation and process.
If all goes well, Chandrayaan-3 will be the first spacecraft to land on the Moon’s South Pole, demonstrating India’s technical prowess and bold space ambitions.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission will demonstrate a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface, a roving rover on the moon, and conduct in-situ science experiments.
ISRO invited citizens to witness the launch of the long-awaited Chandrayaan-3 from the viewing gallery in Sriharikota.
During the Chandrayaan-2 mission, ISRO lost contact with the lander when it was just one notch from the moon’s surface.
The journey from Earth to the Moon for the spacecraft to be launched is estimated to take about a month, and it is expected to land on August 23. Upon landing, it will operate for one lunar day, which is roughly 14 Earth days. One day on the Moon is equal to 14 days on Earth.
K Sivan, former head of ISRO, told ANI that the success of the Chandrayan-3 mission will give programs like Gaganyan a morale boost.
“We understood what went wrong with Chandrayan-2 when we couldn’t land on the lunar surface, recreated the failure modes, and made sure we succeed this time. The challenge is the same as Chandrayan-2, the same environment to land. This time we hope we have done enough based on the lesson of Chandrayan-2 which gives us more confidence. In space there are always unknown unknowns… I hope that all the problems are addressed and that we come out with success,” he said.
“We are making the technology land on a celestial body. By landing successfully, we will acquire landing technology and it will be good for future generations. Various scientific experiments are planned and scientists will have more knowledge about the geology of the moon and the origin of the earth,” he added.
Mylswamy Annadurai, Chandrayaan-1 Mission Director, said that Chandrayaan-3 is a very important mission.
“We have shown that we can orbit, but we couldn’t make a soft landing. By doing so this time, we can show that Chandrayan-1 was not an isolated success. Internationally, the world is looking back at the moon, the real seed came from Chandrayaan-1. So, we must make this mission successful,” he told ANI.
“Difficult lessons were learned from Chandrayaan 1 and 2. At every step, we are supposed to have a plan B. There were some hiccups on Chandrayaan-2. This time we are back to normal. We are clear about what we want to do and it will ensure that we can land softly on the surface of the moon. The landing target is also bigger, all the elements have been tested several times, we hope it will be a success…”, he added.
The development phase of Chandrayaan-3 began in January 2020 with plans to release it sometime in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in the development process.
The biggest discovery of the Chandrayaan-1 mission, launched in 2008, is the detection of water (H2O) and hydroxyl (OH) on the lunar surface. The data also revealed their greater abundance towards the polar region.
“The main scientific objective of the mission was to prepare a three-dimensional atlas of the near and far side of the Moon and to perform chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface with high spatial resolution,” said ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Center. .
Moon serves as a repository of Earth’s past and a successful lunar mission from India will help improve life on Earth and prepare us to explore the rest of the solar system, and beyond.
Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) director S Somanath had said that if all goes well, the spacecraft will land on the moon on August 23.
The date was decided based on sunrise on the moon, but if it is delayed, the landing could take place as early as next month, he said.