Chandrayaan-3 Reaches Final Orbit Around Moon, Russia In The Same Race
India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission is nearing its final stages as it prepares to land on the moon’s surface around August 23.
This mission aims to successfully accomplish what its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, couldn’t achieve – a soft landing near the lunar South Pole and rover exploration. The mission involves a lander module named Vikram and a rover module called Pragyan.
Chandrayaan-3’s journey has gone according to plan so far. The mission began on July 14 and has completed multiple maneuvers to gradually reduce its orbit and velocity.
The spacecraft is now in its final orbit around the moon – a circular path about 153 x 163 kilometers in size. On August 16, Chandrayaan-3 is expected to enter a 100-kilometer circular orbit.
The crucial next step is the separation of the lander and rover module from the propulsion module, which is planned for August 17.
After this, the lander-rover module will prepare for a powered descent to the lunar surface on August 23. This process involves changing the lander’s orientation, slowing down its velocity, and carefully descending to ensure a safe landing.
Chandrayaan-3’s predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, experienced challenges during its landing attempt due to software issues and contradictory requirements for velocity adjustments.
Chandrayaan-3 has been designed to learn from these issues and enhance its chances of a successful landing.
Changes include improved maneuverability during descent, sturdier legs for landing stability, more sensors, and larger solar panels for power.
Additionally, the propulsion module will remain in the final orbit for further scientific research. It will study the spectro-polarimetric signatures of Earth from the lunar orbit to aid the search for exoplanets and potential signs of life on them.
Interestingly, while Chandrayaan-3’s journey is about to complete the mission successfully soon, another country is also in the queue. Russia’s Luna-25 will also land near the south pole of the moon around 21st August.