Chandrayaan-3: India’s Lunar Quest Achieves Crucial Milestone as ‘Vikram’ Lander Separates Successfully

Bangalore, August 17, 2023: India’s pursuit of lunar exploration reached a pivotal juncture as the Chandrayaan-3 mission achieved a significant breakthrough. The ‘Vikram’ lander module of the spacecraft triumphantly detached from the propulsion module on Thursday, propelling India closer to its ambitious goal of a successful soft landing on the moon’s surface.

Named in honor of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, a visionary pioneer often referred to as the father of the Indian space program, the Chandrayaan-3 mission continues to captivate the nation with its audacious aspirations. Just a day prior, the spacecraft executed a final, precise lunar-bound orbit reduction maneuver, hastening its scheduled landing on the moon’s southern pole on August 23.

Powered by the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle, Chandrayaan-3 embarked on its lunar journey on August 5. A series of meticulously orchestrated orbital maneuvers gradually positioned the spacecraft closer to its lunar target. The mission’s genesis traces back to January 2020, with its launch initially slated for 2021. However, unforeseen delays stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated a recalibration of the timeline.

Chandrayaan-3, a successor to the Chandrayaan-2 mission which encountered challenges during its 2019 soft landing attempt, is meticulously engineered with an array of electronic and mechanical subsystems. These components encompass navigation sensors, propulsion systems, guidance, control mechanisms, and more – all carefully orchestrated to facilitate a secure and gentle touchdown on the lunar surface.

The mission’s objectives span a spectrum of scientific exploration, including the pursuit of a safe and soft landing, the deployment of a rover for lunar surface mobility, and the conduct of in-situ scientific experiments.

With an approved budget of Rs 250 crores (excluding launch vehicle costs), Chandrayaan-3 aims to etch India’s name in history as the fourth nation to achieve a soft landing on the moon, following in the footsteps of the United States, Russia, and China. This milestone carries far-reaching implications, serving as a stepping stone for enhanced knowledge of our solar system and the Earth’s evolutionary past.

As Chairman S Somanath reassured, all systems remain on course and operational, underpinning the upcoming maneuvers leading to the anticipated moon landing. The lunar south pole, chosen as the mission’s target, presents unique challenges that distinguish it from the more frequently explored equatorial region. However, the pursuit of this challenging terrain holds the promise of uncovering unprecedented scientific insights.

As the countdown continues towards Chandrayaan-3’s rendezvous with the moon, India stands on the precipice of yet another monumental achievement in space exploration, bolstering its position among the world’s preeminent spacefaring nations.

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