India’s third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, kicks off at 2:35pm on Friday. India aims to achieve a soft landing on the lunar surface and lunar rover exploration that its predecessors have failed. A successful soft landing would make India the fourth most successful country after the United States, Russia and China.
After entering Earth’s orbit on Friday at an altitude of 179 km, the spacecraft gradually raises its orbit and heads toward the Moon through a series of maneuvers to avoid Earth’s gravity. After approaching the moon, the spacecraft must be held up by gravity. When this happens, the lander with the rover inside will separate from the propulsion module and initiate a powered landing.
The risks are high in this ambitious mission. Because, if successful, India will be on the list of desirable countries to make a soft landing on the moon. So far, only the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China have completed it.
Although the United States and the Soviet Union have sent countless missions to land smoothly, China has the honor of being the only country to successfully complete the first mission. India also launched Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, 2019. The mission’s lander and rover were scheduled for a soft landing on the Moon on September 7. However, the Vikram lander and Pragyaan probe crashed on the lunar surface early in the morning.
Now that India is preparing for the long-awaited launch of Chandrayaan-3, and there are high hopes. The entire process will take about 42 days and landing is expected at moonrise on August 23rd.