Chandrayaan-3: India's Lunar Triumph Unveiled
India’s Chandrayaan-3, the latest chapter in ISRO’s lunar exploration saga, has etched its mark in the celestial narrative, achieving remarkable milestones in its lunar sojourn. Launched on 14 July 2023 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, the spacecraft, comprising the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover, mirrored the successful duo of Chandrayaan-2.
Navigating through the challenges of space, Chandrayaan-3 entered lunar orbit on 5 August, heralding a historic touchdown near the lunar south pole. The precision of ISRO’s engineering prowess was on full display as Vikram descended on 23 August at 18:03 IST (12:33 UTC), making India the fourth nation to master a lunar landing and the first to do so near the elusive southern pole.
The mission’s ingenuity unfolded further with Vikram’s maneuver on 3 September, executing a lunar hop and repositioning itself, akin to the historic Surveyor 6 mission. Although the lander and rover hoped for a revival on 22 September after mission success, the onset of the second lunar night on 30 September dimmed those prospects.
Chandrayaan-3’s objectives, meticulously outlined by ISRO, included engineering a safe lunar landing, demonstrating the rover’s mobility, and conducting experiments on lunar surface materials. The launch vehicle, LVM3-M4, initiated the mission on a trajectory that saw the spacecraft entering an Earth parking orbit before embarking on its lunar journey.
The spacecraft’s journey was not without challenges, as seen in the uncontrolled re-entry of the Cryogenic Upper Stage on 15 November, posing no threat as it descended over the North Pacific Ocean.
Chandrayaan-3’s successful lunar odyssey stands testament to India’s prowess in space exploration, contributing valuable data to the global lunar repository and paving the way for future interstellar endeavors. This achievement reinforces India’s standing in the international space community, showcasing its commitment to advancing technology and unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos.