Chandrayaan-3 : Four years after it broke many hearts, ISRO‘s Chandrayaan is all set to soar towards the moon in its third expedition on Friday, in an attempt to put the country in an elite club of nations that have accomplished lunar missions with a soft landing. The highly anticipated launch of Chandrayaan-3, carried by the ‘Fat boy’ LVM3-M4 rocket, is scheduled to take place on July 14 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. This mission holds significant importance for India as it aims to master the technology of soft-landing on the moon’s surface, which Chandrayaan-2 failed to achieve in 2019.
The Ambitious Lunar Mission
India’s ambitious moon mission is driven by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). After the disappointment of Chandrayaan-2, where the desired soft landing was not achieved, the team at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre has invested countless hours of hard work into perfecting the technology of soft-landing on the moon’s surface. By successfully landing on the moon, India aims to become the fourth country to accomplish this feat, following the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union.
The Objective of Chandrayaan-3
- Chandrayaan-3, the third lunar exploration mission, is part of the fourth operational mission (M4) of the LVM3 launcher.
- ISRO aims to cross new frontiers by demonstrating soft-landing on the lunar surface and showcasing rover capabilities.
- The mission also aims to develop and demonstrate new technologies required for future interplanetary missions, making it supportive of India’s space exploration endeavors.
The Components of Chandrayaan-3
- Chandrayaan-3 comprises three main modules: the indigenous propulsion module, lander module, and rover. These modules work together to achieve the mission’s objectives.
- The 43.5-meter-tall rocket is scheduled to lift off from the second launch pad at 2.35 pm on July 14.
- The largest and heaviest LVM3 rocket, also known as the ‘fat boy,’ has a remarkable track record of completing six consecutive successful missions.
The Launch and Lunar Orbit for Chandrayaan-3
The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft will be launched into a Geo Transfer Orbit by the LVM3 vehicle. This versatile launch vehicle has the capability to undertake complex missions, including multi-satellite deployment and interplanetary missions. The launch window in July was chosen strategically because the Earth and Moon are closer to each other during this part of the year.
Learning from Past Missions of Chandrayaan-2
Friday’s mission follows the unsuccessful attempt of Chandrayaan-2, where the lander crashed on the lunar surface instead of making a soft landing. The lessons learned from Chandrayaan-2 have been invaluable in ensuring a successful landing this time. The scientists and engineers have left no stone unturned in their efforts to make Chandrayaan-3 a triumph.
Launch Preparations and Lunar Descent
As the days neared for the launch, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre buzzed with activity. The launch vehicle was integrated into the launch mission complex, and a thorough “launch rehearsal” was conducted to simulate the entire launch preparation process.
After the lift-off on Friday, the propulsion module is expected to separate from the rocket around 16 minutes after lift-off. It will then orbit the Earth for about 5-6 times in an elliptical cycle, gradually moving towards the lunar orbit. The journey to the moon will take over a month, with the lander module reaching a position 100 km above the lunar surface. The descent for a soft landing on the moon’s south pole region is planned for August 23 or 24.
The Significance of the Moon South Pole
The moon’s south pole region has been chosen for the soft landing due to its larger size compared to the north pole. It is believed that water may be present in the permanently shadowed areas around the south pole. Chandrayaan-3 aims to explore this region to gather valuable data and insights.
Payloads and Scientific Objectives of Chandrayaan-3
Chandrayaan-3 carries various payloads to fulfill its scientific objectives. The Propulsion Module features the SHAPE payload, which stands for Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth. SHAPE is an experimental payload designed to study the spectro-polarimetric signatures of the Earth in the near-infrared wavelength range.
The Lander Module carries payloads such as RAMBHA-LP, ChaSTE, and ILSA, which will measure plasma ions and electrons density, study thermal properties of the lunar surface, and measure lunar seismic activity, respectively. The Rover, with a mission life of one lunar day, has payloads like APXS and LIBS to analyze the chemical and mineralogical composition of the lunar surface.
The upcoming Chandrayaan-3 mission holds great promise for India’s space exploration efforts. It is a testament to the resilience and determination of the ISRO team, who have worked tirelessly to overcome past challenges and improve the mission’s chances of success. If all goes according to plan, India will join the prestigious group of nations that have achieved a soft landing on the moon. Chandrayaan-3 not only paves the way for future interplanetary missions but also contributes to our understanding of the moon’s surface and its potential for habitability.
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What is Chandrayaan-3?
Chandrayaan-3 is India’s third lunar exploration mission, aimed at achieving a soft landing on the moon’s surface and showcasing rover capabilities.
Why is Chandrayaan-3 significant?
Chandrayaan-3 is significant because it aims to master the technology of soft-landing on the moon’s surface, which was not achieved in the previous mission (Chandrayaan-2). A successful landing will make India the fourth country to accomplish this feat.
What are the scientific objectives of Chandrayaan-3?
Chandrayaan-3 aims to develop and demonstrate new technologies required for interplanetary missions. It carries various payloads to study the Earth, measure plasma ions and electrons density, analyze thermal properties, and study lunar seismic activity.
What is the significance of the moon’s south pole region?
The moon’s south pole region is larger than the north pole and is believed to have permanently shadowed areas where water may be present. Chandrayaan-3 will explore this region to gather valuable data and insights.
How does Chandrayaan-3 contribute to India’s space exploration efforts?
Chandrayaan-3 not only expands India’s capabilities in lunar missions but also paves the way for future interplanetary missions. It showcases India’s advancements in space technology and contributes to our understanding of celestial bodies.