In a monumental step towards India’s space ambitions, the Chandrayaan-3 mission achieved a significant milestone as the Vikram lander successfully detached from the spacecraft’s propulsion module. This detachment sets the stage for the upcoming attempt to land on the Moon’s south pole on August 23, a feat that no other nation has accomplished before.
Chandrayaan-3 represents India‘s determined resurgence following past challenges and disappointments. The success of this soft landing holds immense importance not only for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the nation’s leaders but also for its citizens who are eager to witness India’s elevation in the global space exploration arena.
The Indian Space Research Organisation had previously announced that the separation of the landing module housing the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover from the propulsion module would occur on August 17. This milestone signifies that each component will now embark on their respective journeys.
On August 16, ISRO confirmed that the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft had accomplished its fifth and final lunar orbit manoeuvre. Following this, a manoeuvre is scheduled for Thursday, designed specifically for the separation of the lander. This action involves repositioning Vikram into an elliptical orbit. Subsequent manoeuvres by ISRO will meticulously adjust the landing module’s trajectory for the ultimate landing attempt.
The carefully planned de-boost manoeuvres are projected to position Vikram into an orbit characterized by a Perilune (closest point to the Moon) of 30 km and an Apolune (farthest point from the Moon) of 100 km. This orbital configuration will serve as the starting point for the anticipated landing endeavor.
Chandrayaan-3, launched on July 14, successfully entered lunar orbit on August 5. ISRO has conducted a series of manoeuvres to gradually lower its orbit and position it over the lunar poles.
The impending soft landing is a complex undertaking involving a series of intricate manoeuvres, including rough and fine braking. Following the successful landing, the rover, named Pragyan, will conduct experiments on the lunar surface during a lunar day, which spans 14 days on Earth.
As the world watches with anticipation, India’s space agency, ISRO, continues to navigate each phase of the mission with precision and expertise. The success of Chandrayaan-3’s landing attempt holds the promise of expanding the frontiers of scientific exploration and discovery.