Isro Chandrayaan-3 launch: LVM3 lifts off successfully, aims to reach Moon by August-end.

India launched its ambitious Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon successfully on Friday.

The spacecraft was launched aboard India’s heaviest rocket, Launch vehicle Mark-III a.k.a LVM3, on a journey to the Moon, by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The spacecraft will complete the 3,84,000 kilometers long journey in nearly 45 days to attempt a soft-landing on the Moon by August-end. Television footage showed LVM3 launch rocket blast off, leaving behind a plume of smoke and fire. A success would make India only the fourth country to achieve the feat after the United States, China and erstwhile USSR. The spacecraft will complete the 3,84,000 kilometers long journey in nearly 45 days to attempt a soft-landing on the Moon by August-end.

Chandrayaan-3 is the third lunar exploration mission in the fourth operational mission (M4) of LVM3 launcher, formerly the GSLVMkIII rocket. The liftoff of LVM3-M4 rocket, dubbed as ‘Fat boy’ by the space scientists for its ability to carry heavy payloads, happened at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota situated about 135 km from Chennai.

ISRO created history with the successful launch of Chandrayaan-3, its third lunar exploration mission. Scientists at the Space Centre, after investing many hours of hardwork, now aim at mastering the technology of soft-landing on the surface of the moon. The Chandrayaan-3 mission is designed to deploy a lander and rover near the moon’s south pole around Aug. 23. Only three other space agencies – the United States, the former Soviet Union and China – have touched down a lander on the moon’s surface. None have landed near the lunar south pole.

According to scientists, around 16 minutes after lift-off, propulsion module has been successfully separated from the rocket and would orbit the earth for about 5-6 times in an elliptical cycle with 170 km closest and 36,500 km farthest from earth moving towards the lunar orbit. The propulsion module along with the lander, after gaining speed would proceed for an over a month long journey towards reaching the orbit of the moon until it goes 100 km above the lunar surface. After reaching the desired position, the lander module would begin its descent for a soft landing on the south pole region of the moon and this action is expected to take place on August 23 or 24, scientists at ISRO said.

The lunar South Pole was chosen because it holds unique significance due to several distinguishing factors. Firstly, its craters have remained untouched by sunlight for billions of years, preserving an undisturbed record of the origins of the solar system. Additionally, the permanently shadowed craters at the South Pole are estimated to contain approximately 100 million tons of water, offering potential resources for future missions. The South Pole’s elemental and positional advantages make it an ideal pit stop for interplanetary explorations, providing strategic benefits for space exploration endeavors. Moreover, the regolith in this region holds traces of hydrogen, ammonia, methane, sodium, mercury, and silver, representing untapped reservoirs of essential resources. These unique characteristics make the lunar South Pole a captivating destination for scientific research and potential future missions. Chandrayaan-2 will give new insights into the geology of the region and may also throw some light on how the moon and the solar system were formed. Countries as well as individuals all over the world are looking to fly their flags on the lunar South Pole.

The third Chandrayaan, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, includes a 2m tall lander designed to deploy at the lunar south pole, where it is expected to remain functional for two weeks running a series of experiments.

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2020 successfully deployed an orbiter but its lander and rover were destroyed in a crash near where the Chandrayan-3 will attempt a touchdown. The mission is expected to be supportive to future interplanetary missions. ISRO chief S Somanath says, “Chandrayaan-3 has started its journey towards the moon. Our dear LVM3 has already put Chandrayaan-3 craft into the precise around earth…Let us wish all the best for the Chandrayaan-3 craft to make its farther orbit raising maneuvers and travel towards the moon in the coming days…”. He dedicated this success to the dedication and untiring efforts of the Chandrayaan research and development team.

In his tweet PM Narendra Modi said “Chandrayaan-3 scripts a new chapter in India’s space odyssey. It soars high, elevating the dreams and ambitions of every Indian. This momentous achievement is a testament to our scientists’ relentless dedication. I salute their spirit and ingenuity!”. In its latest tweet the ISRO informed that Chandrayaan-3, in its precise orbit, has begun its journey to the Moon. Health of the Spacecraft is normal.

Congratulations ISRO for successful launch of Chandrayaan-3.

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