Watch live| Chandrayaan-3 launch: Isro eyes redemption as Moon awaits India’s arrival
On the intervening night of September 6, 2019, India was cheering for a probe hurtling toward the surface of the Moon, aiming to touch down smoothly. Suddenly, the mood changed from jubilation to concern and, eventually, sorrow.
Chandrayaan-2 was lost forever.
Four years after that fateful night, India eyes redemption, and the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is mounting a mega mission to the Moon. Chandrayaan-3 is ready for the challenge.
Isro will launch the Chandrayaan-3 mission from the spaceport at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Friday. The spacecraft, encapsulated in the fairing of the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM3), will be put on a trajectory that will take it into lunar orbit.
Chandrayaan-3 is the third lunar mission undertaken by India after the loss of its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2. The mission aims to demonstrate India's capability in soft landing and roving on the lunar surface. The spacecraft comprises a propulsion module, a lander module, and a rover designed to conduct in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface.
The primary objective of the mission - estimated at Rs 615 crore - is to successfully carry out a soft landing near the Moon's south pole and deploy the rover for scientific exploration for a period of one lunar day or 14 Earth days.
If successful, India will join the United States, Russia, and China as the only countries to have achieved a soft landing on the Moon.
Beyond ensuring a name in the record books, the spacecraft has been designed on the same platform as Chandrayaan-2.
The lander accompanying Chandrayaan-3's journey to the Moon will carry advanced scientific instruments. Among them is Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment (CHASTE), which has been designed by the Space Physics Laboratory to precisely measure thermal conductivity and temperature.
Additionally, the Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) will play a crucial role in estimating seismic activity near the landing site. Meanwhile, the Langmuir Probe with the Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA) will be deployed to calculate plasma density and monitor its fluctuations.
The fourth instrument is a passive Laser Retroreflector Array developed by the US space agency, Nasa, for lunar laser ranging studies to understand the dynamics of the Moon system.
LESSONS FROM CHANDRAYAAN-2
Isro chief S Somnath has shown confidence in the success of the mission and said that they have ensured that everything that could go wrong with the mission has been tested and Chandrayaan-3 has shown its capability to encounter such scenarios. Chandrayaan-3's lander has been designed by improving the vulnerabilities of its predecessor which crashed due to a "software glitch".
Additional cameras and software improvements have been introduced to enhance hazard detection ahead of landing on the Moon. Meanwhile, the structural integrity of the lander has also been fine-tuned to land at a faster speed than Chandrayaan-2.
The launch of the LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark – III) carrying the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s lander, rover and propulsion module will be streamed on ISRO’s website and YouTube channel. You can catch it through the link below when it goes live at 2 PM IST on July 14.