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Chandrayaan-3: LVM-3 launches India's Historic Moon Mission

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

  • Chandrayaan-3 has started its 40-day journey towards the moon,” ISRO Director S Somanath said shortly after the successful launch mission

  • The spacecraft will attempt landing on Moon on August 23 at 12:17 UTC

  • Chandrayaan-3 scripts a new chapter in India's space odyssey - says PMO

LVM-3 launches from SLP, Sriharikota (ISRO)

July 15, 2023, The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched its interplanetary robotic station, Chandrayaan-3, with a lunar rover on board. The ambitious mission, aimed at furthering our understanding of Earth's celestial neighbor, commenced the successful launch on Friday, July 14, 2023, at 14:35 local time (09:05 UTC) on top of Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM3) - #M4 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island on the Coast of the Bay of Bengal. This mission was the fourth operation of an LVM3 rocket.

the Indian space agency ISRO reported that the automatic station was placed in the initial target orbit of 139 x 36307 km x 21.3 deg Incl, and successfully separated from the last stage about 20 minutes after launch. The spacecraft's Propulsion Module engine started today around 07:35 UTC (12:05 IST) for 11-12 min, raising apogee to 42,000km+ according to ISRO sources, awaiting results.

Chandrayaan-3 will complete ten orbits around Earth before July 31, with scientists conducting maneuvers during each orbit to increase its farthest point from Earth. According to a scientist, the first maneuver is scheduled for 12:06 pm on Saturday. Once the spacecraft reaches a distance of 1 lakh km (100,000 km) from Earth, scientists will perform a crucial maneuver known as "trans-lunar insertion." This slingshot maneuver gains the change in velocity that will set Chandrayaan on a trajectory toward the Moon,

Following the successful placement of Chandrayaan-3 in orbit, key figures involved in the mission expressed their excitement and shared their thoughts on the milestone. ISRO Chairman Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, widely regarded as the driving force behind the mission, congratulated India and expressed optimism for the craft's journey to the Moon. He has been credited with fast-tracking other significant missions such as Gaganyaan and Aditya-L1. Chandrayaan-3 Project Director P Veeramuthuvel, known for his technical acumen, celebrated the safe orbit injection and reassured everyone that all spacecraft health parameters were normal. He played a key role in the Chandrayaan-2 mission, negotiating with NASA. Mission Director Mohana Kumar praised the success rate of the launch vehicle and wished for a feather-like landing on the Moon for Chandrayaan-3. U R Rao Satellite Centre Director M Sankaran expressed his gratitude to the team for the textbook-like launch and highlighted the years of hard work leading up to this moment. Launch Authorisation Board Chief A Rajarajan congratulated all teams involved in the flawless launch and placement of Chandrayaan-3. Furthermore, the contributions of 54 female engineers and scientists were acknowledged for their invaluable roles in the mission. Collectively, these statements reflect the dedication, expertise, and enthusiasm of the key figures behind Chandrayaan-3 as they embark on a remarkable lunar exploration journey.

Bill Nelson, director of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), congratulated colleagues in India on the launch. “Congratulations to the Indian Space Research Organization on the launch of the Chandrayaan-3 station. I wish you a safe flight to the moon,” – wrote the department head on Twitter.

He noted that NASA is awaiting the scientific results of the mission. India, Nelson said, is "demonstrating leadership" in US-led civil space deals. launch vehicle launch.

Minister of State for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, expressed his admiration for ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 mission during a post-launch press conference on July 14. He hailed the mission as a vindication of the dreams of ISRO's founding fathers, such as Vikram Sarabhai, who possessed abundant confidence despite limited resources. Singh stated, "This is a moment of glory for us, a moment of glory for India, and a moment of destiny for all of us." He thanked the ISRO team for making India proud and acknowledged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for unlocking the doors of Sriharikota and enabling India's space sector. Singh highlighted the mission's indigenous nature, aligning with the vision of a self-reliant India, and emphasized that it would reinforce India's position as a global player in the years to come. The successful launch of Chandrayaan-3, ISRO's third lunar exploration mission, took place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The mission is a follow-up attempt after the Chandrayaan-2 mission, with the expected lunar landing set for August 23rd at 12:17 UTC (17:47 IST), as per ISRO.

If the mission is successful, India will become the fourth country capable of performing a soft lunar landing (after the USSR, USA, and China).

Learning from the Chandrayaan-2, India's second lunar exploration mission, encountered a setback during its landing phase during the final descent on September 7, 2019, revealing that a technical glitch occurred during the terminal stages of the descent, resulting in an abrupt increase in velocity. This increase in thrust caused the lander to deviate from its planned trajectory and ultimately led to the unsuccessful landing attempt.

Chandrayaan-3 consists of three modules: the Propulsion Module, Lander Module with a miniature lunar rover, and secondary payloads for scientific research. The lander, named Vikram, has undergone significant improvements based on lessons learned from Chandrayaan-2. These include the removal of a fifth engine for weight management, strengthened legs (including the damping systems), an increased velocity threshold, and the addition of an extra sensor for redundancy. Vikram now carries more fuel, additional solar panels, and updated software for real-time error correction.

The mission's landing site has been expanded to a 4 km x 2.5 km area, providing a larger area for the lander's touchdown. The Chandrayaan-3 mission will also feature a new propulsion module that transports the landing module. Unlike Chandrayaan-2, which carried eight payloads, Chandrayaan-3 will carry only one payload.

The mission is expected to last approximately one lunar day, equivalent to around 14 Earth days. The Lander Module is equipped with various sensors, including the Laser Inertial Referencing and Accelerometer Package (LIRAP), Ka-Band Altimeter (KaRA), and several other instruments. These sensors and instruments aid in data collection and enable a safe and precise landing.

Chandrayaan-3 aims to build upon the successes of its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, which successfully placed an orbiter in lunar orbit. The mission will strive to achieve a soft landing in unexplored high-latitude regions of the moon, making India the first country to do so. With improved technology and lessons learned, ISRO is determined to make Chandrayaan-3 a significant milestone in India's space exploration journey.


Tweets of Chandrayaan-3 launch mission

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