India’s March to the Moon – One step further!

Chandrayaan 3 launched by ISRO.

14th July 2023, a historic day for India indeed! 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1 and GO! Exactly at 2:35 p.m., a rocket called Launch Vehicle Mark 3 lifted off from the Indian space base of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The country’s rocket LVM-3, which has been nicknamed ‘Bahubali’ carried the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft and put the moon spacecraft into orbit on Friday afternoon. The 3.8 ton spacecraft has been launched eyeing a rare feat in moon exploration so far only accomplished by the US, China and the former Soviet Union.

Huge crowds gathered at the space base to witness this historic moment. Excitement filled the air and people from all walks of life, including researchers, scientists, students, space enthusiasts, media reporters came together to witness this significant event. Curious crowds waving Indian tricolor flags thronged the area who cheered as the Chandrayaan-3 rose into the sky. Nearly sixteen minutes after the launch the spacecraft separated from the rocket’s upper stage, and a round of cheering and clapping erupted in the ISRO mission control center. It was an electrifying moment for all who have strived to achieve this feat for years. Over the coming weeks, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft will perform a series of engine firings to elongate its orbit before heading toward the moon.

Chandrayaan refers to the series of lunar exploration missions conducted by ISRO (the Indian Space Research Organisation). The name “Chandrayaan” is derived from the Sanskrit words “Chandra” (meaning “moon”) and “Yaan” (meaning “vehicle” or “craft”). The Chandrayaan missions aim to explore the Moon, study its surface, and gather scientific data about its composition, topography, and atmosphere.

The team of the space agency ISRO which is responsible for the country’s space program and which conducts various space-related activities, including satellite launches, space exploration missions, and the development of related technologies, specified that the Chandrayaan-3 mission has three major objectives of which the first is to Demonstrate a safe and soft landing on the surface of the Moon, then conduct rover operations on the Moon and finally conduct on-site experiments on the Lunar surface.

The lander of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is planned to soft-land on the surface of the Moon on 23rd August 2023. If this landing at the moon’s South Pole is successful, it will operate for one lunar day, which is approximately 14 Earth days. Beyond Chandrayaan-3, the Indian space agency ISRO already has started working on its future plans. It is developing a spacecraft, “Gaganyaan”, for taking astronauts to orbit, but it has fallen behind its original goal of a crewed flight by 2022, and the mission is now expected no earlier than 2025. ISRO has been planning and conducting various tests and experiments to ensure the safety and success of the Gaganyaan mission. The selection and training of Indian astronauts for this ambitious mission are also in progress, said a senior official at ISRO.  

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