India Successfully Launches Historic Chandrayaan-3 Mission

India has once again reached for the stars, embarking on its third lunar expedition, the Chandrayaan-3 mission, with an ambitious goal

by Faruk Imamovic
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India Successfully Launches Historic Chandrayaan-3 Mission

India has once again reached for the stars, embarking on its third lunar expedition, the Chandrayaan-3 mission, with an ambitious goal: to be the first country to successfully land near the moon's South Pole, an area largely untouched and underexplored.

The successful launch took place from the Sriharikota Space Center, marking a significant milestone in India's space odyssey.

A New Chapter in India's Space Odyssey

The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, complete with orbiter, lander, and rover, is scheduled to reach the moon around August 23 or 24.

If successful, India will join an elite club of spacefaring nations, becoming the fourth country to achieve a soft lunar landing after the USA, USSR, and China. The launch event attracted a sizeable crowd, eliciting applause, cheers, and chants of "Bharat Mata ki jai," which translates as "Long Live Mother India".

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) confirmed that the spacecraft has entered a precise Earth orbit and is in good health. "The Chandrayaan-3 mission has written a new chapter in India's space odyssey," declared Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This mission comes 13 years after India's inaugural lunar journey in 2008, which made significant strides in the search for water on the lunar surface, establishing that the moon has its own daytime atmosphere. Despite the second mission's partial success in 2019, with the lander crashing but the orbiter remaining operational, it still proved a fruitful learning experience for ISRO.

The Voyage of Chandrayaan-3

The Chandrayaan-3, weighing in at 3,900 kg and costing 75 million dollars, carries the 1,500 kg Vikram lander and the 26 kg Pragyaan rover. This spacecraft is set to traverse the cosmos for about 15 to 20 days before entering lunar orbit, after which the velocity will be decreased to facilitate a soft landing.

The rover will then explore the lunar surface, collecting critical data and photographs. Its primary objective is to study the moon's physical characteristics, near-surface atmosphere, and tectonic activity. The moon's South Pole, with its larger shadow area, holds the tantalizing potential for the presence of water in the "permanently dark part." India acknowledges the North Pole's scientific appeal but recognizes the inherent risks associated with landing there.

Lessons from the Chandrayaan-2 mishap have been invaluable in rectifying previous errors, and the wealth of data from the still-functional orbiter has improved the chances of the new lander's success.

India
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