India successfully lands Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon

A view of the Moon from the Chandrayaan-3 Lunar lander (Credit ISRO)

India becomes the 4th country to successfully make a soft touchdown on the Moon and the first to land in the Southern Hemisphere.

Chandrayaan-3 began its descent phase, and over the next 19 minutes, mission control carefully watched the telemetry being received from the lander and erupted into cheers and applause once the landing was confirmed.

The trip to the Moon began on July 14th as the Lunar lander rode atop the Launch Vehicle Mark 3 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, and then took the next 40 days slowly but surely making their way to the Moon using a highly elliptical orbit around the Earth before beginning its transfer toward Lunar orbit.

Once entering the Moon’s orbit on August 5th, the lander began using small descent burns to lower itself into the proper orbit before attempting the landing.

During the descent phase, the lander paused and hovered at about 150 meters above the Lunar surface, using its onboard scanners, such as the laser doppler velocimeter and lander horizontal velocity camera, to detect a suitable landing site.

The lander, known as the Vikram lander, along with its rover, Pragyan, now safely on the Moon, will begin an approximately 12-day scientific mission due to Lunar night time occurring in 12 days and thus not able to generate solar power.

The scientific payloads aboard Vikram include the Chandra Surface Thermophysical Experiment that will measure thermal conductivity and temperature on the surface of the Moon, the Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity to measure Moonquakes, and the Langmuir Probe to measure plasma density.

Chandrayaan-3 marks a huge accomplishment for the Indian Space Research Organization and India, especially as a follow-up from the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which crashed into the Moon due to software failures, similar to Russia’s recent failed attempt with the Luna 25 mission.

The next mission to the Moon looks to be Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission, due to launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than November 2023.

One thing that has been proven over and over is that landing on the Moon isn’t easy, India beat the odds today.

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India successfully lands Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon
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