Stay updated on Chandrayaan-3's progress as it successfully completes a significant lunar-bound maneuver
Image Credit: ISRO

India’s third mission to the moon, called Chandrayaan-3, has completed an important move that brings it even closer to the moon.

The spacecraft is set to separate from its propulsion part on Thursday, August 17, and then it will try to land softly on the moon’s surface on Saturday, August 20.

Chandrayaan-3 embarked on its voyage on July 14th, departing from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre located in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Following a series of strategic maneuvers to elevate its trajectory, the spacecraft successfully intersected the moon’s orbit on August 5th.

A significant final adjustment was executed on Wednesday, August 16th, bringing the spacecraft’s orbit into closer proximity to the moon at an altitude of 153 km by 163 km.

At 8:30 am IST on Thursday, August 17, the spacecraft will separate into two parts: the part that made it move (called the propulsion module) and the part that will land on the moon (called the lander module, named Vikram).

Vikram will start a series of moves to slow down its descent to the moon’s surface.

The final move to slow it down will happen when Vikram is about 10 km above the moon, and then it will land on the moon’s surface.

Chandrayaan-3 is aiming to land at the South Pole of the moon, a place no other spacecraft has explored.

Vikram has tools like a camera, a spectrometer, and a magnetometer to study the moon’s surface. Attached to Vikram is a rover called Pragyan, which will explore the moon’s surface more closely.

This mission is really important for India’s space program. It would be the first time India has softly landed on the moon since Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019.

The mission will also help India learn more about exploring the moon, which could help with future missions to the moon and other planets.

Not only does Chandrayaan-3 have scientific goals, but it also brings pride to India. It shows how well India can use space technology.

If the mission is successful, it will make India look even better on the global stage for space exploration.

However, there are some challenges ahead for Chandrayaan-3:

  1. Tough Landing Site: The South Pole of the moon is a tricky place to land. The surface is bumpy and uneven, and there’s a risk of dust storms.
  2. Tricky Braking Moves: The lander module has to do some complex moves to slow down its fall to the moon. Any mistakes in these moves could lead to a crash.
  3. Harsh Environment: The rover Pragyan will face a tough environment. The moon’s surface is extremely cold and dusty, and there’s no atmosphere to protect it from the sun’s harmful rays.

Despite the obstacles at hand, Chandrayaan-3 remains poised for a promising outcome. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) boasts a track record of triumphant missions, and Chandrayaan-3 is equipped with advanced capabilities.

Additionally, it benefits from collaborative assistance by the European Space Agency (ESA), which is contributing a specialized navigation camera to aid its journey.

If Chandrayaan-3 succeeds, it would be a big achievement for India and for space exploration worldwide.

It would make future missions to the moon and other planets possible and help us learn more about the solar system.