The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for its highly anticipated mission, Chandrayaan-3, which aims to land a rover named Pragyan on the Moon’s surface. This mission comes as a successor to Chandrayaan-2, which faced challenges during its attempt to land the Vikram lander on the lunar surface. Now, with Vikram and Pragyan both “asleep,” ISRO is meticulously preparing for its next lunar endeavor, with hopes set on a successful landing on September 22.
The Chandrayaan-2 Experience
Chandrayaan-2, India’s second lunar mission, made headlines for its ambitious attempt to land the Vikram lander near the lunar south pole in September 2019. However, during the final moments of descent, the mission encountered communication issues with Vikram, leading to an unsuccessful landing attempt.
Despite this setback, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter continued to operate successfully and has been providing valuable data from lunar orbit since then. The orbiter’s longevity and the lessons learned from the Vikram landing attempt have set the stage for Chandrayaan-3, which aims to accomplish what its predecessor couldn’t: a soft landing on the Moon.
Chandrayaan-3: A Second Chance
Chandrayaan-3 represents ISRO’s determination to rectify the issues encountered during the Chandrayaan-2 landing attempt. The mission’s primary goal is to successfully land the Pragyan rover on the lunar surface, while Vikram will play a crucial role as the lander. The third component of the mission, the orbiter, will not be included this time, as the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter continues to operate and gather valuable lunar data.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission is planned to launch atop an ISRO GSLV Mk III rocket. Unlike Chandrayaan-2, which featured a more complex configuration with both an orbiter and a lander-rover duo, Chandrayaan-3 will focus solely on the landing attempt. This streamlined approach aims to increase the chances of success by minimizing potential points of failure.
Vikram and Pragyan “Asleep”
As ISRO prepares for the Chandrayaan-3 mission, the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover from Chandrayaan-2 remain in a state of dormancy. These two components have been in a sleep mode, conserving power and resources while awaiting their next opportunity to make history.
The decision to include the Vikram lander from the previous mission is a cost-effective strategy, as it avoids the need to develop a new lander from scratch. ISRO engineers and scientists have been diligently working to address the issues that led to the Chandrayaan-2 landing failure, ensuring that Vikram is better equipped for a successful landing this time.
Pragyan, the rover designed to explore the lunar surface, will also awaken from its slumber when the mission approaches its landing date. The rover is equipped with scientific instruments to analyze the Moon’s terrain, collect data, and transmit valuable information back to Earth.
A Promising September 22
The anticipated landing date for Chandrayaan-3 is September 22, 2023. ISRO is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that this mission achieves its goal of a soft landing on the Moon. Lessons learned from Chandrayaan-2 have been invaluable, leading to improvements in the design, testing, and execution of Chandrayaan-3.
The successful landing of Pragyan on the lunar surface will mark a significant milestone for ISRO and the Indian space program. It will demonstrate India’s capability to land and operate rovers on celestial bodies and contribute valuable data to the global scientific community.
ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 mission represents a second chance and a remarkable display of determination in the face of challenges. With Vikram and Pragyan both “asleep” but ready to awaken for their lunar adventure, the space agency is poised to make history once again. As the world eagerly awaits the September 22 landing date, the Chandrayaan-3 mission serves as a testament to India’s commitment to lunar exploration and scientific discovery.