Introduction: In a historic achievement that reverberated across the globe, India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), accomplished an extraordinary milestone with the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3. This monumental feat, realized on August 23, 2023, marked India’s triumphant entrance into the elite league of countries capable of soft-landing on the Moon. The mission is a sequel to the Chandrayaan-2 endeavor. It featured the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover. Both components embodying cutting-edge engineering and scientific ambition.
I reached my destination
and you too!'
Chandrayaan-3 has successfully
soft-landed on the moon 🌖!.
— ISRO (@isro) August 23, 2023
A Landmark Achievement:
Chandrayaan-3 was launched on July 14, 2023, signifying a resolute step towards lunar exploration. On August 23, 2023, at 18:02 IST, history was etched as Vikram and Pragyan gently touched down near the lunar south pole region. This momentous achievement solidified India’s position as the fourth nation to achieve the remarkable feat of a successful soft landing on the Moon, reaffirming the country’s prowess in space technology and innovation.
The image captured by the
Landing Imager Camera
after the landing.
It shows a portion of Chandrayaan-3's landing site. Seen also is a leg and its accompanying shadow.
Chandrayaan-3 chose a relatively flat region on the lunar surface 🙂… pic.twitter.com/xi7RVz5UvW
— ISRO (@isro) August 23, 2023
Learning From The Past:
The journey to Chandrayaan-3’s victorious landing was not devoid of challenges. ISRO’s prior attempt, Chandrayaan-2, encountered an unexpected obstacle when the Vikram lander deviated from its intended trajectory during descent, leading to an unfortunate crash.
Undeterred by this setback, ISRO used the lessons learned from Chandrayaan-2 to refine the design, technology, and execution of Chandrayaan-3, showcasing their steadfast determination and resolve.
A Trailblazing Mission:
Chandrayaan-3’s mission objectives were clear and ambitious:
- Safely and softly landing the Vikram lander on the lunar surface.
- Demonstrating the mobility of the Pragyan rover on the Moon’s terrain.
- Conducting vital experiments to comprehend the composition of lunar materials, furthering our understanding of the Moon’s constitution.
Innovative Design And Technology:
The Chandrayaan-3 mission was composed of three crucial components:
- Propulsion Module: This module was responsible for transporting the lander and rover to a lunar orbit of 100 km. The ingenious design featured a robust box-like structure with a large solar panel and an intermodular adapter cone for the lander.
- Lander (Vikram): The Vikram lander played a pivotal role in achieving a soft landing on the Moon. Equipped with four landing legs and powerful thrusters, the lander exhibited enhanced capabilities compared to its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2. Improved attitude control, thrust management, and instrumentation redundancy were critical improvements.
- Rover (Pragyan): The Pragyan rover, a six-wheeled marvel, weighed 26 kilograms and carried a suite of scientific instruments. It conducted vital measurements to comprehend lunar surface composition, presence of water ice, lunar impact history, and the evolution of the Moon’s atmosphere.
Chandrayaan-3’s payload encompassed a range of scientific instruments aimed at unraveling the Moon’s mysteries:
- Lander Payloads:
- Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) measured lunar surface temperature and thermal conductivity.
- Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) gauged seismic activity around the landing site.
- Langmuir Probe (LP) estimated plasma density near the surface.
- Rover Payloads:
- Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) deduced chemical and mineralogical composition of the lunar surface.
- Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) determined elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks.
- Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) conducted spectral measurements of Earth from lunar orbit.
A Triumph Of Precision:
Chandrayaan-3’s meticulously executed mission profile showcased ISRO’s finesse in space navigation and engineering:
- Launch: The mission commenced on July 14, 2023, with a successful liftoff from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, aboard the LVM3-M4 rocket.
- Lunar Orbit Insertion: On August 5, 2023, Chandrayaan-3 was inserted into lunar orbit, marking a critical achievement in its journey.
- Separation: On August 17, Vikram lander detached from the propulsion module, entering the final phase of its mission.
- Orbit-Raising: A series of meticulously executed orbit-raising maneuvers propelled the lander and rover closer to their lunar destination.
- Successful Landing: On August 23, 2023, Chandrayaan-3 achieved a flawless landing, marking the culmination of years of dedication and effort.
Chandrayaan-3’s triumphant landing stands as a testament to India’s unwavering commitment to space exploration and technological advancement. The successful execution of this mission signifies not only a remarkable scientific achievement but also a symbol of international collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and the spirit of innovation. With the Pragyan rover poised to unveil lunar secrets and expand our understanding of the Moon, Chandrayaan-3 has etched its place in the annals of space exploration as a beacon of Indian excellence.