The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has achieved a significant milestone in its Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar mission, as the assembly of the rocket is now complete. The spacecraft, comprising the indigenous lander module, propulsion module, and rover, has been successfully integrated. Additionally, the payload fairing, which protects the payload during launch, has also been finalized. With the assembly completed, ISRO is now focusing on conducting the final round of tests to ensure all systems are functioning properly before the eagerly awaited launch.
About Chandrayaan-3 Mission
Chandrayaan-3 is an upcoming mission that serves as a continuation of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, aiming to showcase the capability of safely landing and roving on the lunar surface.
- The mission includes both a Lander and Rover configuration.
- The launch will be carried out by the LVM3 (GSLV Mk III) rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR in Sriharikota which will place the integrated module in an Elliptic Parking Orbit (EPO) of size ~170 x 36500 km.
- The propulsion module of Chandrayaan-3 will transport the Lander and Rover configuration to a lunar orbit of 100 kilometers.
- The Chandrayaan-3 mission has been allocated a budget of ₹615 crore.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has revealed that the launch of Chandrayaan-3 is planned for either July 12 or July 13 at 2:30 pm.
- The mission will span a little over a month, during which the spacecraft will travel to the moon.
- The anticipated landing on the lunar surface is projected to occur around August 23.
Aim of the Mission
Chandrayaan-3 is a mission designed to develop and showcase new technologies essential for interplanetary missions. It comprises an indigenous Lander module (LM), a Propulsion module (PM), and a Rover. The Lander module has the capability to land gently at a designated site on the moon and deploy the Rover. The Rover will be responsible for conducting in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface as it moves across it.
Both the Lander and the Rover are equipped with scientific payloads to carry out experiments on the moon. The Propulsion module’s main function is to transport the Lander module from the launch vehicle injection until it reaches the final lunar orbit of 100 km in a circular polar trajectory. After reaching the desired orbit, the Lander module will separate from the Propulsion module. The Propulsion module also includes a scientific payload that will be operational after the separation of the Lander module.
- Demonstrating a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface
- Showcasing the mobility of the Rover on the moon’s terrain
- Conducting in-situ (on-site) scientific experiments
- Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA) or Langmuir probe (LP) – To measure the near-surface plasma (ions and electrons) density and its changes with time
- Chandra’s Surface Thermo Physical Experiment (ChaSTE) – To carry out the measurements of thermal properties of the lunar surface near-polar region.
- Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) – To measure seismicity around the landing site and delineate the structure of the lunar crust and mantle.
- LASER Retroreflector Array (LRA) – It is a passive experiment from NASA to understand the dynamics of the Moon system.
- LASER Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) – Qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis & To derive the chemical Composition and infer mineralogical composition to further our understanding of the Lunar surface.
- Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) – To determine the elemental composition (Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca, Ti, Fe) of Lunar soil and rocks around the lunar landing site.
Propulsion Module Payload
- Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) –
- It enables the study of spectral and polarimetric measurements of Earth from the lunar orbit.
- This payload will provide valuable insights into our planet from a unique perspective.
- Future discoveries of smaller planets in reflected light would allow us to probe into a variety of Exo-planets that would qualify for habitability (or for the presence of life).
- Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first lunar probe under the Chandrayaan program. It was launched by the ISRO on 22nd October 2008, and operated until August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor.
- The main aim of Chandrayaan-1 was to study the chemical, mineralogical, and photogeologic mapping of the Moon.
- The spacecraft carried 11 scientific instruments, including a Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) from NASA, an imaging spectrometer that helped confirm the discovery of water molecules on the Moon.
- Some notable achievements of Chandrayaan-1:
- Discovered the presence of water molecules in the lunar soil.
- Detected the existence of a lunar mantle.
- Discovered new lunar craters.
- Mapped the lunar surface at high resolution.
- Developed and tested new technologies for lunar exploration.
- Chandrayaan-2 was the second lunar exploration mission developed by ISRO. It was launched on July 22, 2019, and consisted of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. The orbiter is still in operation, but the lander and rover crashed during the landing attempt on September 7, 2019.
- The lander was named “Vikram” after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space program, and the rover was named Pragyan, which means “wisdom” in Sanskrit.
- The main aim of Chandrayaan-2 was to study the lunar surface and subsurface and to search for signs of water ice.
- Chandrayaan-2 was a highly complex mission, and it was the first attempt by India to land a spacecraft on the Moon’s south pole. The mission’s failure was a disappointment, but it was still a major achievement for ISRO.
- Some notable achievements of Chandrayaan-2:
- The orbiter is still in operation, and it has been mapping the lunar surface at high resolution.
- The lander and rover crashed during the landing attempt, but they still managed to collect some data.
- The mission’s data has helped us to better understand the Moon’s composition and geology.
- The mission has paved the way for future lunar missions, such as Chandrayaan-3.
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