Chandrayaan-3 launch Today! ISRO Moon Exploration Mission
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Chandrayaan-3 launch Today! ISRO Moon Exploration Mission

Jul 14, 2023
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Chandrayaan-3 is the next mission planned by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to explore the Moon. It is the third Mission in India’s Chandrayaan program, following Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2. It essentially serves as a subsequent mission to Chandrayaan-2, aimed at showcasing a comprehensive capability in successfully landing and traversing the lunar surface

The mission aims to further India’s scientific exploration of the Moon. Chandrayaan-3 is expected to include a lander and rover, similar to Chandrayaan-2, with improved design and technical modifications. The mission will involve conducting experiments and investigations to study the Moon’s surface, geology, and other lunar features.

Objectives of ISRO Chandrayaan-3 Mission

The Chandrayaan-3 mission by ISRO has established three primary objectives, which are as follows:

  • Achieving a secure and gentle touchdown of a lander on the Moon’s surface.
  • Examining and showcasing the rover’s ability to move around on the Moon.
  • Conducting on-site scientific observations and experiments to study the composition of the Moon, including its chemical and natural elements, soil, water, and more. This aims to enhance our understanding and facilitate future lunar missions. Additionally, the mission also involves the development and demonstration of interplanetary technologies required for missions between different planets.

The Launch and Mission Timeline of Chandrayaan-3

The launch of Chandrayaan-3 is set to take place on July 14, 2023, at 2:35 PM from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre located in Sriharikota.

Mission Timeline –

  • The Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM 3) rocket will be utilized to launch Chandrayaan-3.
  • The spacecraft aims to reach the South Pole of the moon and operate for a duration of one lunar day, which is roughly equivalent to 14 Earth days.
  • The estimated duration for the journey from Earth to the moon is approximately one month. The landing is currently planned for August 23-24, but adjustments may be made based on the timing of the lunar sunrise.

Chandrayaan-3 Key Technological Upgrades

Taking place four years after the partial failure of Chandrayaan-2, which experienced a crash landing on the moon’s surface, the Chandrayaan-3 mission incorporates valuable lessons learned from that event. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has made numerous technological upgrades to Chandrayaan-3 to increase the likelihood of success this time around.

  • Chandrayaan-3 is set to launch with a lander and a rover configuration. To fulfill its communication and terrain mapping needs, the mission will make use of the Orbiter, which is already orbiting the Moon after being launched with Chandrayaan-2.
  • The Chandrayaan-3 lander mission is equipped with specialized “lander hazard detection and avoidance cameras” to facilitate coordination with the orbiter and mission control during the landing process on the lunar surface.
  • The Vikram lander in Chandrayaan-3 will feature enhanced and stronger legs compared to its previous version, enabling it to withstand higher landing velocities. The landing velocity has been increased from 3 meters per second to 2 meters per second.
  • The additional fuel has been incorporated into Vikram in Chandrayaan-3, granting it enhanced travel capabilities and the ability to better handle dispersion.
  • A new sensor called the laser Doppler velocity meter has been integrated into Chandrayaan-3. This sensor will focus on examining the lunar terrain and gathering velocity-related data.
  • To ensure uninterrupted power generation regardless of its landing orientation, the Vikram lander in Chandrayaan-3 has been equipped with additional solar panels on multiple surfaces.
  • Onboard the lander, there is an instrument known as “Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth” (SHAPE), specifically designed to capture data on the emission and reflection of light from Earth.
chandrayaan 3 Process Cycle
Images Sources – International Space Station

International Collaborations

The significance of Indian involvement in space exploration is widely acknowledged and appreciated. The Chandrayaan series will maintain collaborations with other nations, facilitating a mutual exchange of knowledge and resources. By joining forces in collaborative endeavors, expertise is pooled, increasing the mission’s likelihood of success and fostering global scientific cooperation.

Scientific Significance

Chandrayaan 3 represents an ambitious mission with significant scientific importance. Its primary objective is to explore specific regions on the moon, enabling scientists to collect detailed data that enhances our understanding of the moon’s evolution and geology. This scientific endeavor will encompass several exciting explorations, such as

  • Examining the composition of lunar soil

Equipped with advanced instruments, Chandrayaan 3 will possess the capability to analyze the composition of lunar soil, providing valuable insights into its geological history. It will help scientists to examine the elements and isotopes that can reveal significant clues about the moon’s formation and its connection to Earth.

  • Mapping and comprehending the topography of the moon

Through the utilization of cutting-edge imaging techniques, Chandrayaan 3 will generate intricate and precise topographical maps. These maps will enable scientists to pinpoint potential landing sites and evaluate the safety and practicality of future human habitation on the moon.

  • Investigating the potential presence of water ice on the moon

Chandrayaan 3 will perform experiments and analyses to ascertain the presence and concentration of water ice in the polar regions of the moon. This exploration of the moon’s water resources is of utmost importance for strategic planning of sustainable long-duration missions, human exploration, and the utilization of this invaluable resource.

Chandrayaan-2: A Brief Recap

Chandrayaan-2, India’s second lunar exploration mission was launched in July 2019. It aimed to study the Moon’s surface, particularly the south polar region, and demonstrate India’s technological capabilities. The mission consisted of an orbiter, a lander (Vikram), and a rover (Pragyan). While contact with the lander was lost during the descent, the orbiter continued to function successfully. It carried scientific payloads that gathered crucial data, including the detection of water molecules and hydroxyl on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-2 showcased India’s space expertise, contributed to lunar science, and emphasized international collaboration for advancing our understanding of the Moon.

Chandrayaan 2

History of ISRO Chandrayaan Mission

Chandrayaan is a series of India’s lunar exploration programs, consisting of missions aimed at studying and exploring the Moon. The word “Chandrayaan” is derived from two Hindi words: “Chandra” (meaning “Moon”) and “Yaan” (meaning “vehicle” or “craft”). Therefore, the literal meaning of “Chandrayaan” is “Moon Craft” or “Moon Vehicle.”

In 2008, Chandrayaan-1 became India’s first mission to the Moon, successfully orbiting and mapping its surface. It made notable discoveries, such as the detection of water molecules in the lunar exosphere. The mission successfully conducted remote sensing and mapping of the lunar surface, providing valuable insights into the Moon’s geology and composition.

Building on this triumph, Chandrayaan-2 was launched in 2019 with the aim of a soft landing and rover deployment. Though the landing didn’t go as planned, the orbiter continues to operate and gather valuable scientific data. 

Challenges and Preparations

The construction of Chandrayaan-3 posed a significant challenge, which began in 2020 but experienced delays due to the pandemic. The subsequent endeavors encompassed various preparations and addressed distinct challenges, primarily focusing on implementing a “failure-based design” approach. Here are the main preparations done to encounter any unforeseen circumstances.

  • Mission Planning and Design: ISRO scientists and engineers undertook extensive mission planning and design work to define the objectives, payload requirements, and spacecraft architecture. This involves studying the data and lessons learned from previous missions such as weights, strengths, and capabilities, identifying improvements, and incorporating necessary changes.
  • Technology Development: To address the challenges specific to Chandrayaan-3, ISRO conducted research and development activities to advance the required technologies. This includes improvements in navigation systems, landing gear, thermal protection, and scientific instrument capabilities.
  • System Integration and Testing: Before launch, the spacecraft, lander, rover, and associated systems had gone through comprehensive integration and testing. The 24-hour-long ‘launch rehearsal’ replicated the whole launch preparation and process finished on Tuesday at Sriharikota.
  • Risk Analysis and Contingency Planning: ISRO assessed potential risks and identified backup plans or contingencies to mitigate any unforeseen challenges during the mission. This involves evaluating failure scenarios and developing alternative strategies to ensure mission success.

Public Interest and Outreach

The news about Chandrayaan 3 has made space enthusiasts, especially in India, very excited. The mission has received a lot of support from the public, and people are already talking about it a lot on different social media platforms. People from all over the world are sharing their thoughts, opinions, and guesses about what will happen during the mission. They are also enthusiastic about watching the mission online through various streaming platforms.

Future Implications

The remarkable triumph of Chandrayaan 3 paves the way for a highly promising future of lunar exploration in India. Chandrayaan 4 is already in the pipeline, aiming to expand our comprehension of the moon and drive India’s space aspirations even further. This unwavering dedication to knowledge acquisition and exploration establishes a solid foundation for greater achievements, including the possibility of future Mars missions.

To conclude –  Chandrayaan-3 demonstrates India’s persistent commitment to lunar exploration and scientific development. With its ambitious objectives, improved design, and collaborative partnerships, the mission holds great potential for expanding our understanding of the moon and paving the way for future space endeavors. India’s space ambitions are poised for remarkable achievements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1: What is Chandrayaan-3?

Ans: Chandrayaan-3 is India’s upcoming lunar mission, focused on achieving a successful soft landing and deploying a rover on the lunar surface. It is a refinement and continuation of India’s lunar exploration program.

Ques 2. How is Chandrayaan-3 different from Chandrayaan-2?

Ans: Chandrayaan-3 represents an enhanced and improved version of Chandrayaan-2. Extensive analysis of the shortcomings in Chandrayaan-2 has led to the development of Chandrayaan-3, incorporating enhancements such as reinforced landing legs, increased fuel capacity, addition of new sensors, implementation of a central engine, upgraded software, extended reach of solar panels, and improved antenna capabilities.

Ques 3. When is the expected launch date of Chandrayaan-3?

Ans: Chandrayaan-3 is expected to be launched at 2:35 pm on Friday, July 14, 2023.

Ques 4. What are the primary objectives of the mission?

Ans: The primary objectives of the Chandrayaan-3 mission are:

  • Successful landing: To achieve a safe and soft landing of the lander on the lunar surface.
  • Rover exploration: To demonstrate the capabilities of the rover, including its mobility and ability to perform various tasks on the Moon.
  • Scientific observations: To conduct on-site scientific observations and experiments, focusing on the composition of the Moon, such as studying the chemical and natural elements, soil, water, etc.
  • Technological advancements: To develop and demonstrate new technologies required for interplanetary missions.

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