Friday, April 19, 2024

ISRO’s Chandrayaan 3 Mission Nears Culmination, Lunar Touchdown Imminent

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In an eagerly awaited moment, India’s Chandrayaan-3 Mission, led by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is poised for its final phase. Within a matter of days, the Indian spacecraft is set to undertake its inaugural lunar soft-landing attempt. ISRO confirms that Chandrayaan-3’s scheduled soft landing on the Moon is planned for August 23rd, precisely at 5:45 PM (IST), as the sun gently begins to set on the horizon.

A significant aspect of Chandrayaan-3’s achievement lies in the intricately designed Lander module, comprising both the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover. This delicate module is expected to execute a meticulous lunar landing, a feat demanding the reduction of velocity from a remarkable 6000 km/hour to a complete standstill. Heralded by its launch on July 14th, 2023, Chandrayaan-3 has undertaken a series of strategic manoeuvres, marking each step towards its pivotal goal.

Notably, the recent successful execution of Chandrayaan-3’s final deboosting operation stands as a testament to the mission’s progress. This achievement paves the way for the impending powered descent, anticipated to commence on August 23rd.

On a recent Friday, Chandrayaan-3 achieved a significant milestone as its Vikram lander underwent a crucial deboosting manoeuvre. The lander, having successfully detached from the propulsion module the previous day, gracefully transitioned to a slightly lower orbit, marking a moment of triumph within this ambitious undertaking.

ISRO’s aspiration to achieve a triumphant lunar soft landing echoes the ambitions of only three nations before the United States, Russia, and China. If successful, India will not only join this elite group but also establish itself as the pioneer in reaching the Moon’s south polar region.

Chandrayaan-3 is ISRO’s determined follow-up to the challenges faced by its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, during its 2019 lunar soft landing attempt, ultimately deemed unsuccessful in its core objectives.

ISRO’s brainchild, Chandrayaan-3, comprises the Vikram lander, a name drawn from Sanskrit meaning “valour,” and the Pragyan rover, a name invoking “wisdom” in Sanskrit.

Remarkably, this mission bears a modest price tag of approximately ₹600 crores, a striking testament to India’s frugal yet ingenious space engineering. The rover’s operational span spans one lunar day, equivalent to 14 Earth days.

ISRO’s chief, S. Somanath, affirmed that engineers meticulously analyzed data from the prior mission’s challenges to rectify issues and ensure the mission’s success. Since its inaugural Moon-orbiting probe in 2008, India’s space programme has grown exponentially, gaining momentum and international recognition.

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