Chandrayaan-3 Landing Could Be Shifted to August 27 if Factors Unfavourable on August 23: ISRO Scientist

Science

If any factor regarding the lander module appears unfavourable, then the landing will be shifted to August 27, said the Space Applications Centre-ISRO about Chandrayaan-3 on Monday. 

Nilesh M Desai, director of Space Applications Centre-ISRO, Ahmedabad said that the decision regarding the landing will be taken based on the health of the lander module and the conditions on the Moon.

“On August 23, two hours before Chandrayaan-3 lands on the Moon, we will decide on whether or not it will be appropriate to land it at that time based on the health of the lander module and the conditions on the Moon. In case, if any factor appears to be not favourable, then we will land the module on the Moon on August 27. No problem should occur and we will be able to land the module on August 23,” Director Desai said.

ISRO Chairman and Secretary Department of Space S Somanath called on the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology, Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh in New Delhi today and apprised him of the status and readiness of ‘Chandrayaan-3′ for the moon landing scheduled on August 23, 2023.

Chairman ISRO briefed the minister on the health status of Chandrayaan-3 and said that all systems are working perfectly and no contingencies are anticipated on Wednesday.

In the next two days, the health of Chandrayaan-3 will be continuously monitored. The final sequence of landing will be loaded two days ahead and tested out, he said.

During the meeting, Minister Jitendra Singh expressed his confidence in ‘Chandrayaan-3′ making a soft landing this time and hoped that it will script a new history of planetary exploration under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

ISRO said the Chandrayaan-3 is set to land on the moon on August 23, 2023, around 18:04 hours IST.

Live actions will be available on the ISRO website, its YouTube channel, Facebook, and public broadcaster DD National TV from 17:27 IST on Aug 23, 2023.

While the Chandrayaan-2 mission was only “partially successful” since the lander lost contact after a hard landing, the ISRO successfully established two-way communication between the Chandrayaan-3 lander module and the still-orbiting Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. In a significant development, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter which was already fixed around the moon established a two-way connection with the lander module of Chandrayaan-3 on Monday.

Earlier today, the ISRO shared new images of the lunar far side area captured by the Chandrayaan-3.

India will be the fourth country in the world to achieve this feat after the United States, Russia, and China, but India will be the only country in the world to land on the lunar south pole.

The primary objectives of the Chandrayaan-3 mission are threefold — to demonstrate safe and soft landing on lunar surface; to demonstrate rover roving on the moon, and to conduct in-situ scientific experiments.

Chandrayaan-3’s development phase commenced in January 2020 with the launch planned sometime in 2021. However, the Covid-19 pandemic brought an unforeseen delay to the mission’s progress.

Jitendra Singh recalled that the first in the series of Chandrayaan — namely Chandrayaan-1, is credited for having discovered the presence of water on the surface of the Moon, which was a new revelation for the world and even the premier Space agencies like the USA’s NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) were fascinated by this discovery and used the inputs for their further experiments.

Chandrayaan-3 mission was launched on July 14, 2023, via the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota at 2:35 PM.

Ahead of the much-awaited soft landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the south pole of the Moon, former director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and in-charge of the previous lunar mission ‘Chandrayaan-2′, K Sivan earlier today said that the mission will be a “grand success”.

“It’s a very anxious moment…I’m sure that this time it will be a grand success,” Sivan said while speaking to ANI.

“We have our own system and we will be establishing a soft landing without any problem. But it is a complex process,” he said while responding to a question asked whether there would be any impact after the failure of Russia’s Luna-25 mission. Russia’s moon mission failed after its Luna-25 spacecraft spun out of control and smashed into the moon on Sunday.

He said that corrective measures have been taken after going through data generated by the Chandrayaan-2 mission. When asked if those additional systems too were indigenous, Sivan said, “Everything is indigenous.”

Earlier today, ISRO released images of the lunar far side area captured by the Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera (LHDAC). This camera assists in locating a safe landing area — without boulders or deep trenches — during the descent.

Notably, the ‘Vikram’ lander module of the spacecraft successfully separated from the propulsion module recently, and subsequently underwent crucial deboosting manoeuvres and descended to a slightly lower orbit. The Chandrayaan-3 mission’s lander is named after Vikram Sarabhai (1919–1971), who is widely regarded as the father of the Indian space program.

A GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle was used for the launch of the spacecraft that was placed in the lunar orbit on August 5 and since then it has been through a series of orbital manoeuvres been lowered closer to the moon’s surface.

It has been a month and seven days since the Indian Space Research Organisation launched the Chandrayaan-3 mission on July 14. The spacecraft was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota.

The stated objectives of Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar mission, are safe and soft landing, rover roving on the moon’s surface, and in-situ scientific experiments.

The approved cost of Chandrayaan-3 is Rs. 250 crores (excluding launch vehicle cost).

Chandrayaan-3’s development phase commenced in January 2020 with the launch planned sometime in 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought an unforeseen delay to the mission’s progress.

The key scientific outcomes from Chandrayaan-2 include the first-ever global map for lunar sodium, enhancing knowledge on crater size distribution, unambiguous detection of lunar surface water ice with IIRS instrument, and more.


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