In a significant advancement for its space exploration endeavors, India’s lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, gracefully touched down on the south pole of the Moon at precisely 6:04 pm on Wednesday. This historic achievement places India in an elite group of nations, making it the pioneer in landing on this uncharted lunar territory.
A monumental stride in India’s space capabilities, the LM module – housing the lander named Vikram and a compact 26 kg rover known as Pragyan – executed a smooth landing near the Moon’s southern polar region. Remarkably, this accomplishment followed a mere week after a Russian lander experienced an unfortunate crash during a similar endeavor.
With this second successful moon landing attempt within four years, India joins an exclusive club, alongside the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union, in mastering the intricate technology of soft lunar landings.
Chandrayaan-3 marks a sequel to its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, aiming to showcase secure and gentle landings on the lunar surface, exploration through roving activities, and the execution of on-site scientific experiments.
The previous Chandrayaan-2 mission encountered a setback during its lunar phase, as the lander named Vikram faced anomalies in its braking system, ultimately leading to a crash on September 7, 2019. Chandrayaan’s inaugural mission took place in 2008.
Boasting a budget of 600 crore rupees, the Chandrayaan-3 mission took off on July 14, propelled by the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM-3) rocket, embarking on a 41-day journey to reach proximity to the lunar south pole.
This triumphant soft landing unfolded shortly after Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft met an unfortunate end, crashing into the Moon due to a loss of control.
The lander, accompanied by a six-wheeled rover with a combined mass of 1,752 kg, is engineered for a lunar operational period equivalent to approximately 14 Earth days.
Featuring a four-legged structure, the lander incorporates an array of sensors ensuring a secure touchdown, including accelerometers, altimeters, Doppler velocimeters, inclinometers, touchdown sensors, and an assortment of hazard avoidance and positional knowledge cameras.
The rover is securely nestled within the lander’s compartment and is equipped with a deployment ramp for a seamless transition onto the lunar surface. This triumphant achievement underscores India’s growing prowess in space exploration and sets the stage for further scientific exploration on the Moon.