Soft landing of Chandrayaan 3 planned at 5.47 pm on August 23: ISRO Chief


PTI, Jul 14, 2023, 6:39 PM IST

Sriharikota: India’s third moon mission Chandrayaan-3 will attempt the technically challenging soft landing on the lunar surface on August 23, ISRO Chairman S Somanath said on Friday.

Addressing reporters after the successful launch of the estimated Rs 600 crore mission, Somanath said the craft’s insertion into the lunar orbit has been planned from August 1.

The soft landing was planned at 5.47 pm on August 23, more than a month after Chandrayaan 3 took off from the spaceport here piggybacking on the heavylift LVM3-M4 rocket, he added.

Elaborating, Somanath said the rocket, following Friday’s launch would be proceeding towards the lunar orbit in elliptical orbits.

”We are expecting it to enter into lunar orbit by August 1 and two-three weeks from then, separation of propulsion module and lander module will happen on August 17. The final descent is currently planned for August 23, at 5.47 pm IST. That is the plan if it goes as per the schedule” he said.

To a query on the ‘delay’ over the launch of today’s mission, as Chandrayaan 2 was launched in 2019, Somanath said it took a year to study on what went wrong in the previous mission.

”Second step is what corrections are required to make it better and then we looked at what more can go wrong; will there be any hidden problems and we got that after doing review and in the third year we conducted testing and the final year was (about) assembling the LVM3-M4 rocket. It has been a big team comprising thousands of people for what has happened today”, he said.

On the reasons why the south pole has been selected for performing scientific experiments in the current mission, he said, ”we are aiming for all the geophysical, chemical characteristics on the surface of the moon. Second, study of the south pole has still not been explored.” Besides, nobody has conducted the thermal characteristics on the surface of the moon which ISRO would be doing in this mission, he added.

To another query, he said scientists undertook several modifications in the LVM3-M4 rocket, which included bringing down the number of engines to 4, as against its predecessor’s 5.

”This was done to reduce the weight of the vehicle,” he said.

On the project cost of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, Minister of State for science and technology Jitendra Singh said, ”it was around Rs 600 crore.” Echoing the Centre’s initiative on the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been showing his individual interest in developing this space ecosystem in the last four-five years.

”He has unlocked the doors of Sriharikota for developing space technology, and for the private sector also” he said.

He said hundreds of startups were coordinating with ISRO in support of the development of the space ecosystem.

Observing that space technology has entered every household in the country, he said efforts like telemedicine and even the supply of vaccines during COVID-19 enforced lockdown was done using it.

”Now, the world is looking at us (India) to take the lead in space technology,” Singh said. India was not what it was 10 years ago and today it was on par with developed countries like the United States, he said.

”Chandrayaan-3 launch is our reiteration of our scientific prowess and technology driven economy which is going to happen in the next 25 years. I think India is going to be the torchbearer of that,” he said.

He said that during the recent US visit of PM Modi, there was the international space station agreement as well ”which in fact is reiteration of the fact that United States and other countries look up to India as equal partners,” he said.

”It is the US which is soliciting an Indian astronaut to go up to the International space station. It is a matter of pride and great tribute to our scientific talent,” he said.

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