In a giant leap for its space programme, India’s Moon mission Chandrayaan-3 touched down on the lunar south pole at 6.04pm on Wednesday, propelling the country to an exclusive club of four and making it the first country to land on the uncharted surface.
India scripted history as ISRO’s ambitious third Moon mission Chandrayaan-3’s Lander Module (LM) touched down on the lunar surface on Wednesday, making it only the fourth country to accomplish the feat, and first to reach the uncharted south pole of Earth’s only natural satellite.
In a big boost to India’s space prowess, the LM comprising the lander (Vikram) and the 26kg rover (Pragyan), made the soft landing near the south polar region of the Moon at 6.04pm, less than a week after a similar Russian lander crashed.
I reached my destination
and you too!’
Chandrayaan-3 has successfully
soft-landed on the moon 🌖!.
— ISRO (@isro) August 23, 2023
With this touchdown on moon in second attempt in four years, India has become the fourth country to master the technology of soft-landing on the lunar surface after the US, China and the erstwhile Soviet Union.
Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 and its objectives are to demonstrate safe and soft-landing on the lunar surface, roving on the Moon, and to conduct in-situ scientific experiments.
Chandrayaan-2 had failed in its lunar phase when its lander ‘Vikram’ crashed into the surface of the Moon minutes before the touch down following anomalies in the braking system in the lander while attempting a landing on September 7, 2019. Chandrayaan’s maiden mission was in 2008.
The Rs 600 crore Chandrayaan-3 mission was launched on July 14 onboard Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM-3) rocket, for a 41-day voyage to reach near the lunar south pole.
The soft-landing took place days after Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the Moon after spinning out of control.
The lander and the six-wheeled rover (with total mass of 1,752 kg) are designed to operate for one lunar daylight period (about 14 Earth days) The lander with four legs, had multiple sensors to ensure a safe touchdown, including an accelerometer, altimeters, Doppler velocimeter, inclinometer, touchdown sensor, and a suite of cameras for hazard avoidance and positional knowledge.
The lander carries the rover in a compartment with a ramp for deployment onto the surface.