The much-anticipated Chandrayaan-3 mission is poised to make its mark with a delicate lunar touchdown, scheduled for 6:04 PM IST on August 23rd. Orchestrated entirely by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), this endeavor stands as a subsequent stride after the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which fell short of its objectives.
ISRO’s ambitions for Chandrayaan-3 revolve around a soft landing at the Moon’s southern pole, a region of paramount significance due to its potential for harboring water ice – a treasure trove of scientific insights.
Key Dates in Chandrayaan-3’s Journey:
- July 6, 2023: ISRO unveils Chandrayaan-3’s launch date as July 14, set to take off from Sriharikota’s secondary launch pad.
- July 7, 2023: Successful completion of vital vehicle electrical assessments.
- July 11, 2023: A meticulous 24-hour launch rehearsal simulating the intricate launch procedure.
The journey continues:
- July 14, 2023: Chandrayaan-3’s spacecraft embarks on its journey via the LVM3 M4 vehicle, achieving its designated orbit.
- July 15, 2023: The first orbit-raising maneuver elevates the craft to 41,762 km x 173 km.
- July 17, 2023: Second maneuver adjusts orbit to 41,603 km x 226 km.
- July 22, 2023: Third maneuver takes the orbit to 71,351 km x 233 km.
- July 25, 2023: Additional orbit-raising maneuver furthers the craft’s progress.
Moving closer to the lunar realm:
- August 1, 2023: Chandrayaan-3 is positioned in translunar orbit (288 km x 369,328 km).
- August 5, 2023: Lunar orbit achieved at 164 km x 18,074 km.
Fine-tuning the trajectory:
- August 6, 2023: Lunar orbit refinement to 170 km x 4,313 km.
- August 9, 2023: Chandrayaan-3’s path adjusted to maintain lunar orbit of 174 km x 1,437 km.
- August 14, 2023: Orbit further adjusted to 150 km x 177 km.
- August 20, 2023: Orbit finalized at 134 km x 25 km, encompassing the farthest and nearest lunar points.
The decisive stages:
- August 17, 2023: Separation of the landing module (comprising Vikram lander and Pragyan rover) from the propulsion system.
- August 18, 2023: “Deboosting” operation executes a controlled descent, lowering the landing module’s orbit to 113 km x 157 km.
- August 20, 2023: Final orbit adjustment for Chandrayaan-3 to 134 km x 25 km.
Anticipating the culmination:
- August 23, 2023: The long-awaited lunar touchdown initiation is projected to begin at 5:47 PM IST, with the soft landing scheduled for 6:04 PM IST. This monumental event encapsulates ISRO’s dedication to unraveling lunar mysteries and propels India’s space endeavors to new heights.