Bengaluru: ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organisation, has made significant progress in its plans to launch the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission in July. The spacecraft has now been integrated with India’s powerful launch vehicle, Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM3).
The Chandrayaan-3 mission, developed at a cost of approximately ₹615 crore, aims to achieve a successful landing of the lander on the moon’s surface, followed by the deployment of a rover for various experiments. Scientific instruments carried by Chandrayaan-3 will allow for the study of the moon’s thermophysical properties, lunar seismicity, lunar surface plasma environment, and elemental composition. In March, the spacecraft successfully completed essential tests to validate its endurance against the harsh vibration and acoustic conditions during launch.
Chandrayaan-3 serves as a follow-up mission to Chandrayaan-2, which was launched on July 22, 2019. Chandrayaan-2 faced an unfortunate setback when the Vikram lunar lander crash-landed on the moon’s surface on September 6, 2019.
The lander for the upcoming Chandrayaan-3 mission has undergone several modifications compared to its predecessor used in Chandrayaan-2. It now features four motors instead of five, and certain software adjustments have been made. It remains uncertain whether ISRO will retain the previous lander and rover names, Vikram and Pragyan, respectively.
Chandrayaan-3 consists of an indigenous lander module (LM), a propulsion module (PM), and a rover. The mission aims to develop and demonstrate new technologies essential for interplanetary missions.
ISRO highlights that the lander has the capability to softly land at a predetermined lunar site and deploy the rover, which will conduct in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface during its mobility. Both the lander and rover carry scientific payloads for experiments on the moon.
The primary role of the propulsion module is to transport the lander module from the launch vehicle injection to the final lunar 100-km circular polar orbit. Subsequently, it will separate from the lander module. Additionally, the propulsion module features an additional scientific payload that will be operated after separating from the lander module.
Following the mid-July launch, similar to Chandrayaan-2, the spacecraft will undergo orbital rising, during which the lander and orbiter will orbit the moon before the eventual touchdown on the lunar surface.