India’s Chandrayaan-3 Mission Set to Renew Moon Exploration with Second Attempt at Landing

India Set to Launch Chandrayaan-3 Moon Mission After Previous Failure

India is gearing up for another attempt at landing a robotic spacecraft on the surface of the moon, three years after its first mission ended in a crash. The new mission, called Chandrayaan-3, comes at a time when there is a renewed interest in exploring the moon. However, only China has been successful in landing a spacecraft on the moon in one piece in the past decade. That could change soon, as Chandrayaan-3 is the first of up to six missions planned by India that could successfully reach the lunar surface.

The mission began on Friday, July 14, when the LVM-3 rocket carrying Chandrayaan-3 lifted off on schedule at 5:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), equivalent to NASA, is providing live coverage of the flight on its YouTube channel, tracking the progress of the spacecraft as it separates from the rocket and maneuvers to exit Earth’s orbit.

Chandrayaan-3, which means “moon craft” in Hindi, consists of a propulsion module, a lander, and a rover. The propulsion module will push the spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit and guide it into lunar orbit. The lander and rover are designed to touch down in the moon’s south polar region. The landing is scheduled for August 23 or 24, when the sun rises at the landing site, and the mission is expected to last for two weeks.

India’s previous moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, attempted a landing in 2019 but was unsuccessful. The lander, Vikram, and the rover, Pragyan, lost contact with mission control and crashed onto the lunar surface. However, the mission’s orbiter was successful and continues to operate, conducting scientific studies and serving as the communications relay for Chandrayaan-3.

India’s exploration of the moon has become a source of national pride, with the country’s space program and growing community of commercial space start-ups gaining attention. In 2014, when India’s Mars mission entered orbit around the Red Planet, schools across the country asked children to arrive early to watch the event on state television. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a strong supporter of the space program, attending mission control for both Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3.

India’s space ambitions extend beyond the moon. The country is developing the Gaganyaan spacecraft, aimed at sending astronauts into orbit, potentially in collaboration with the United States. NASA has announced plans to provide training for Indian astronauts, with the goal of mounting a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024.

As India prepares for its second attempt at landing on the moon, there is a sense of anticipation and determination. The previous mission may not have achieved its objective, but the effort and journey have been commended. The launch of Chandrayaan-3 signifies India’s commitment to advancing its space program and joining the ranks of nations exploring the vastness of space.