India Shoots For The Moon With Chandrayaan-3 Launch
India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission is set to launch from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh today at 2.35 pm.
The mission holds the hopes of the entire nation, as a successful landing would make India the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.
The lander, named Vikram, will be carried by the GSLV Mark 3 heavy lift launch vehicle, also known as the Bahubali rocket.
The mission aims to land in the Moon’s South Pole, where water molecules have been discovered, offering valuable scientific research opportunities.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is optimistic about the mission after the setback of the Chandrayaan-2 mission in July 2019, when the lander failed to land safely due to off-nominal conditions.
ISRO Chief S Somnath explained that the previous mission faced challenges in handling off-nominal conditions, but this time, measures have been taken to ensure a safe landing, including software updates and a reduction in the number of engines on the lander.
Chandrayaan-3’s lander, Vikram, is designed for a safe and soft landing. Once landed, it will release the rover Pragyan.
The rover Pragyan will explore the lunar surface for approximately 14 Earth days and conduct scientific experiments, including the analysis of lunar soil and monitoring moonquakes.
ISRO has thoroughly tested the mission and developed countermeasures for various failure scenarios, such as sensor or engine failures.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission follows the Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008, which successfully operated until August 2009.
The objective of Chandrayaan-3 is to rectify the failures of the previous mission and achieve a successful soft landing.
If successful, India will join the United States, the Soviet Union, and China as the only nations to accomplish this feat.
Soft landings on the Moon are challenging due to the absence of atmospheric drag and the need for precise calculations and maneuvers during the final descent. The Moon’s lack of GPS also makes it difficult to land at pre-selected safe locations.
Despite these challenges, Chandrayaan-3 represents India’s determination to explore the Moon, contribute to scientific research, and potentially utilize the resources available for future space exploration.
The cost of the Chandrayaan-3 mission was initially estimated at over Rs 615 crore, but delays and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may have increased the budget.
The mission aligns with the global interest in lunar exploration, as several countries, including China, have made significant advancements in lunar missions and research.
Finding water on the Moon and using its resources show why it’s important to explore and learn about our closest neighbor in space including the Moon.