India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is all set for the much-anticipated launch of Chandrayaan 3. Following the setback of Chandrayaan 2, ISRO is determined to achieve a successful mission, demonstrating its capability for safe landing and roving on the lunar surface. With the launch scheduled for July 14, the Chandrayaan 3 mission holds great promise as it aims to unlock the mysteries of the moon.
Aiming for Success:
Chandrayaan 3 serves as a follow-up to the Chandrayaan 2 mission, which encountered challenges during its soft landing attempt. ISRO has incorporated valuable learnings from the previous mission to enhance the end-to-end capabilities of Chandrayaan 3. This time, the focus is on demonstrating safe landing techniques and enabling rover exploration, omitting the orbiter component.
Objectives of the Mission:
The Chandrayaan 3 mission has three primary objectives. Firstly, it aims to showcase safe and soft landing techniques on the lunar surface, overcoming the difficulties faced during the previous mission. Secondly, it seeks to facilitate rover roving capabilities, enabling in-depth exploration of the moon’s terrain. Lastly, the mission will conduct scientific experiments in-situ, providing valuable data for further research.
Development and Progress:
The journey towards Chandrayaan 3 began in January 2020, with ISRO scientists and engineers meticulously designing and assembling the spacecraft. The lander for this mission boasts more robust impact legs to ensure a safe landing. While initially scheduled for launch in early 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges, causing delays in the development and assembly process. However, despite the setbacks, progress continued, with propulsion systems nearing completion by May 2021.
Launch Details and Trajectory:
Finally, after careful preparation, the launch of Chandrayaan 3 is set for July 14, 2023. The spacecraft will be launched onboard the powerful Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM 3) rocket. Comprising separate lander and rover modules, the mission is expected to land near the moon’s South Pole and operate for approximately one lunar day, equivalent to 14 Earth days. The trajectory will follow a similar path as Chandrayaan 2, with the propulsion module orbiting Earth multiple times before slingshotting towards the moon. Upon reaching the moon’s gravitational pull, the module will descend to a circular orbit around 100 x 100 km. Subsequently, the lander will separate and make its way to the lunar surface.
The Exciting Descent and Research:
The descent phase is often referred to as the “15 minutes of terror,” as it presents a critical challenge for the mission’s success. Once the lander, named ‘Vikram’ in honor of Vikram Sarabhai, reaches the lunar surface, it will deploy four scientific payloads. These payloads will analyze the moon’s surface temperature and subterranean characteristics, providing valuable insights into the lunar environment. The lander module is equipped with an instrument called ‘SHAPE’ (Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth), which will collect data on the light emitted and reflected by Earth. The rover, known as ‘Pragyan,’ will conduct chemical tests as it roams the lunar surface, enhancing our understanding of the moon’s composition.
With the Chandrayaan 3 mission, ISRO embarks on a new lunar exploration adventure, fueled by determination and a quest for scientific knowledge. This mission represents India’s commitment to space exploration and technological advancements. As we eagerly await the launch, we are filled with anticipation, knowing that Chandrayaan 3 will uncover new insights about the moon and pave the way for future interplanetary missions. Let us celebrate the spirit of discovery and the ingenuity of the ISRO team as they journey towards the moon’s surface, unlocking its secrets one mission at a time.