Mission Overview – Chandrayaan-3 Lunar Exploration Mission:
Chandrayaan-3 is India’s third lunar exploration mission, designed to further expand our understanding of the Moon’s surface and its geology. The mission’s primary objectives include studying the lunar soil, analyzing surface composition, and investigating the presence of water ice in the polar regions. The spacecraft is composed of two main components: the Vikram lander module and the Pragyan rover module.
Did you know that the moon mission of India is named as “Chandrayaan” by Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- Vikram Lander Module: The Vikram lander module is responsible for carrying the Pragyan rover to the lunar surface. It contains the propulsion system required for the lunar descent and landing phases. It’s equipped with landing legs, sensors, and communication systems to ensure a controlled touchdown and safe communication with Earth.
- Pragyan Rover Module: The Pragyan rover is designed to explore the lunar surface, conducting scientific experiments, analyzing soil and rock samples, and capturing images of the Moon’s terrain. It’s equipped with mobility systems, scientific instruments, cameras, and communication equipment to relay data back to Earth.
Launch and Lunar Orbit Insertion:
On July 14, 2023, Chandrayaan-3 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre using a powerful launch vehicle. The spacecraft embarked on its journey towards the Moon, where it executed a series of orbital maneuvers to enter lunar orbit on August 5, 2023. This delicate operation involved precisely calculated engine burns to slow down the spacecraft and allow the Moon’s gravity to capture it into orbit.
Separation and Descent of Vikram Lander:
On August 17, 2023, the Vikram lander successfully detached from the propulsion module. The lander initiated a series of critical maneuvers for landing, including rough braking to reduce speed, attitude hold to stabilize its position, fine braking for precise altitude adjustment, and terminal descent for a controlled touchdown.
Landing and Deployment of Pragyan Rover:
On August 23, 2023, the Vikram lander safely touched down near the lunar south pole region, marking India’s historic achievement as the first nation to successfully land a spacecraft near the lunar south pole. Shortly after landing, the Pragyan rover rolled out from the lander module and onto the lunar surface.
Scientific Findings and Rover Images:
The Pragyan rover will begin its exploration by conducting a series of experiments and capturing images of the lunar terrain. It will make groundbreaking discoveries, including identifying the presence of water ice in permanently shadowed craters, analyzing various minerals in the lunar soil, and conducting detailed assessments of impact craters on the surface.