Well if we’re looking into the superpowers of space the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) are not someone to be left out. Well, it went from carrying rocket parts on cycles and bullock carts and assembling the rocket in a field behind a church in Kerala and launched the first-ever rocket from India to be the first country to touch down on the south pole of the moon and the fourth country to have a soft landing on the moon joining the powers of space such as the soviet union, China and the United States.
ISRO has added one more achievement to their list by landing on the south pole of the moon. The Chandrayan-3 is actually the third lunar exploration mission from ISRO in which the first was launched back in 2008 .which was then followed up by the chandrayan-2 which unfortunately failed on its descent . The chandrayan-3 is actually the follow up to this specific mission. The mission consisted on taking the lander and rover to the south pole of the moon, the lander was named Vikram and the rover was named Pragyan and the propulsion module carried the lunar and rover configuration for the descent to the surface of the moon.
The Chandrayan-3 was designed almost as same as chandrayan-2 , which had the propulsion module which is supposed to take the lander and the rover 100km above the moon’s surface in an orbit. Its box-shaped structure with a large solar panel and a cylindrical mounting structure for the lander.
Next comes the lander named Vikram which is responsible for the soft landing on the moon. It consists of four thrusters which produces 800 N of thrust each. unlike chandrayan-2 which had 5 thrusters where one was mounted in the centre with a fixed thrust. This was removed in chandrayan-3 because this was one of the main reasons for the failure of the chandrayan-2 mission because it had a increase in altitude during its camera coasting phase .With the removal of an engine they added a laser doppler velocimeter or LDV which is used to measure altitudes in 3 directions. Its altitude correction was also increased form 10 o /S to
25 o /S . Stronger impact legs and with improved redundancy too. With the help of the orbiter high resolution camera (OHRC) which was mounted on chandrayan-2 which helped to get a much more precise landing range in a 4KM by 4KM span of area and with improved structural integrity, increased data frequency and improved lander sustainability in the events of failure
Now comes the rover Pragyan which is a six wheeled 57 pound , 917 mm x 750 mm x 397mm in size this rover will help in detecting water ice in the lunar surface, lunar impacts and to study the evolution of the moon’s atmosphere .
The payloads consists of :
- Langmuir probe to estimate plasma density near the surface.
- An alpha particle X-ray spectrometer which will help derive the
chemical composition and infer the mineralogical composition of
the lunar surface.
- Laser-induced breakdown spectroscope which will help determine
the elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks around the site.
- Chandra’s surface thermophysical experiment which will help
measure thermal conductivity and the temperature of the lunar
- Instrument for lunar seismic activity around the landing site.
- Spectro-polarimetry of habitable planet earth(SHAPE) which will
study spectral and polarimetric measurement of the earth from the lunar orbit in the near-infrared wavelength range .
Now talking about how the mission took place. Started of at the 14th of july at 9:05 UTC from Satish Dhawan space centre’s 2nd launch pad in Sriharikota, Andra Pradesh. The chandrayan-3 was placed in a earth parking orbit on board a LVM3-M4 rocket with a perigee of 170KM and an apogee 36,500KM.
After entering in an orbit around the earth Chandrayan did about 5 earth bound manoeuvres which took place in a span of 11 days.
On the 31st chandrayan-3 was set on a trajectory to meet with the moon. 5 days later on the fifth of august lunar orbit injection took place.
After 3 lunar bound manoeuvres which took place in a span of 8 days and on the 18th of august one of 2 deorbit manoeuvres took place and the second one
took place on the next day which happened in a duration of 60 seconds and finally on the 23rd of august on 12:32 India put’s its name in history again.
In the midst of all this we were lucky enough to see a 2nd generation space race which had Russia as India’s competitor Who took a more direct approach to the moon but unfortunately, on the 19th of August it crashed on the surface of the moon.
The duration of this mission, the lander module and the rover module are supposed to last 1 lunar day period or 14 earth days each and the propulsion module has experimental payload that will be operational upto 6 months
The budget for all this was less than a movie. The final cost of the whole project is around 615 crores or $90 million. All this was possible because of the ISRO chairperson S.Somanath , Mission director S.Mohana Kumar, Associate mission director G.Narayanan , Project director P.Veeramuthuvel , Deputy project director Kalpana Kalahasti , Vehicle director Biju.C.Thomas and the 1000 other engineer and scientist. So what this mission is gonna serve as the source of oxygen, fuel and water for the future moon missions or more permanent moon colony. Now as the prime minister of India,Narendra Modi said “This success belongs to all of humanity and it will help moon missions by other countries in the future”.
Authored By: Syed Suhail . V