India’s Historic Chandrayaan-3 Mission: Landing a Spacecraft on the Moon

India is aiming to achieve something extraordinary by attempting to land on the moon, a feat accomplished by only three nations so far. On a successful launch day, India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, located in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, around 2:30 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET). The word “Chandrayaan” translates to “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, reflecting the mission’s purpose.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) confirmed through a tweet that Chandrayaan-3 is now in a precise orbit and has begun its journey towards the moon. The spacecraft’s health is reported to be normal, which is a positive sign.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his excitement on Twitter, stating that Chandrayaan-3 marks a significant milestone in India’s space exploration. He praised the dedication of the scientists behind the mission and admired their spirit and ingenuity. The spacecraft is expected to reach the moon and land on August 23.

This is India’s second attempt at a soft landing on the moon. Their previous effort with Chandrayaan-2 in 2019 did not succeed. However, their first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, successfully orbited the moon before intentionally crashing onto its surface in 2008.

Chandrayaan-3, developed by ISRO, consists of a lander, propulsion module, and rover. Its primary goal is to achieve a safe landing on the moon’s surface, gather valuable data, and conduct scientific experiments to enhance our understanding of the moon’s composition.

Soft-landing a spacecraft on the moon is a challenging feat that has only been accomplished by three other countries: the United States, Russia, and China. Indian engineers have been working diligently on this mission for several years. They aim to land Chandrayaan-3 in the demanding terrain of the moon’s unexplored South Pole.

India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, made a remarkable discovery by detecting water molecules on the moon’s surface. The Chandrayaan-2, launched eleven years later, successfully entered lunar orbit but faced an unfortunate crash landing of its rover on the moon’s surface. Like its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2 was also intended to explore the moon’s South Pole.

PM Modi’s Commitment to India’s Space Program

Even after the setback of the previous mission’s failure, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the engineers involved and expressed the government’s commitment to India’s space program and aspirations.

Shortly before the launch on Friday, Modi remarked that the day would be remembered as a significant milestone in India’s space sector. He emphasized the mission’s importance, stating that it carries the hopes and dreams of the nation. Modi shared these sentiments through a post on Twitter.

India has invested approximately $75 million in the Chandrayaan-3 mission, demonstrating its dedication to advancing space exploration.

According to Modi, the rocket will cover a distance of over 300,000 kilometers (186,411 miles) and is expected to reach the moon in the upcoming weeks.

Decades in the Making: PM Modi’s Praise for Chandrayaan-3

India’s remarkable journey in space exploration began over six decades ago, when it was a newly independent nation grappling with the aftermath of a painful partition and widespread poverty. In 1963, India achieved a significant milestone by launching its first rocket into space, despite being outmatched by the space race frontrunners, the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Fast forward to the present day, and India has transformed into the world’s most populous nation and the fifth-largest economy, marked by a vibrant and youthful population and a thriving ecosystem of innovation and technology.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, India’s space program has made remarkable strides, symbolizing the nation’s growing prominence on the global stage. In 2014, India achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first Asian country to reach Mars with the Mangalyaan probe, accomplished at a cost of $74 million—less than the budget of the Hollywood blockbuster “Gravity.”

Continuing their upward trajectory, India shattered records in 2017 by launching a mission that carried a staggering 104 satellites into space. In 2019, the nation announced its successful anti-satellite test, joining the exclusive club of four countries capable of such feats.

Moreover, India’s ambitions extend beyond Earth’s orbit. Former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Kailasavadivoo Sivan, revealed plans to establish an independent space station by 2030, making India an even more significant player in space exploration. Currently, the International Space Station and China’s Tiangong Space Station are the only options available for expedition crews.

India’s rapid progress in space technology has attracted substantial investment and attention from global leaders. During a recent state visit to the United States, Prime Minister Modi met with President Joe Biden, where both leaders expressed their desire for increased collaboration in the space economy.

It’s evident that India’s space program is not confined to the Moon or Mars alone. ISRO has proposed an ambitious mission to send an orbiter to Venus, expanding the horizons of Indian space exploration even further.


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