Chandrayaan-3 moon mission: Know what’s coming next

In its latest maneuver on July 17, the Chandrayaan-3 lander separated from the propulsion module and will now begin its descent towards the lunar south pole. Know what’s next for India’s third lunar mission.

| Updated on: Aug 18 2023, 14:28 IST
Moon mission: Chandrayaan-3 completes final manoeuvre; here's what comes next
1/7 Chandrayaan-3's Final Lunar-bound Manoeuvre: India's Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft successfully completes its fifth and final lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre, bringing it closer to the Moon's surface. (ISRO)
image caption
2/7 Completion of Moon-bound Manoeuvres: Chandrayaan-3 concludes all its Moon-bound manoeuvres, entering an orbit of 153 km x 163 km. The next step is to prepare for the separation of the lander module from the propulsion module. (ISRO)
image caption
3/7 Lander Module Separation: Preparations underway for the separation of the lander module, consisting of the lander and rover, from the propulsion module. The separation is scheduled for August 17. (ISRO)
image caption
4/7 Progression of the Mission: Launched on July 14, Chandrayaan-3 entered lunar orbit on August 5. Orbit reduction manoeuvres were conducted on August 6, 9, and 14, positioning the spacecraft over the lunar poles. (PTI)
image caption
5/7 Soft Landing Plans: Post-separation, the lander will undergo a "deboost" process to place it in an orbit with Perilune at 30 km and Apolune at 100 km. A soft landing attempt on the Moon's south polar region is planned for August 23. (ISRO)
image caption
6/7 Challenges and Simulations: The landing's critical phase involves transitioning the lander's velocity from horizontal to vertical. Extensive simulations and adjustments in guidance design and algorithms have been made to ensure a successful landing. (ISRO)
image caption
7/7 Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 (2019) aiming to demonstrate safe landing and roving on the Moon. It comprises a propulsion module, lander module, and rover with objectives including safe landing demonstration, rover mobility, and in-situ experiments on the lunar surface. (ISRO)
View all Images
Chandrayaan-3 will carry out its deboosting maneuver today. (ISRO)

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)'s Chandrayaan-3 mission could not have had a better start, with the lander commencing its deboosting process today. The mission, which launched on July 14 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre Second Launch Pad in Sriharikota, is India's second attempt to touchdown on the surface of the Moon. In its latest maneuver on July 17, the lander separated from the propulsion module and will now begin its descent towards the lunar south pole.

Chandrayaan-3: Details

The Chandrayaan-3 comprises of 3 components - a lunar lander named Vikram, a rover named Pragyan, and the propulsion module. The names were retained from the previous Chandrayaan-2 mission which crashed on the lunar surface during its descent. On August 1, the spacecraft entered its translunar orbit and it commenced its lunar orbit just 4 days later. Since then, it has been carrying out a series of maneuvers that have gradually reduced its gap with the Moon.

According to ISRO, the Chandryaaan-3 on August 17 completed its fifth lunar orbit as it separated from the propulsion module and began its descent towards the lunar surface. Announcing this maneuver, ISRO posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), “ ‘Thanks for the ride, mate!' said the Lander Module (LM). LM is successfully separated from the Propulsion Module (PM)”.

The spacecraft will now carry out its latest maneuver today, August 18, and begin its deboosting process. During this phase of the mission, Chandrayaan-3 will slow down and position itself in a lower orbit where its Perilune will be 30 kilometers and Apolune will be about 100 kilometers. ISRO's further posted on X, “LM is set to descend to a slightly lower orbit upon a deboosting planned for tomorrow around 1600 Hrs., IST.”

Chandrayaan-3: What's next?

As per ISRO, Chandrayaan-3 will now carry out two orbit-reduction maneuvers where it will initially enter a lower 100 x 100 km orbit, before settling in a 100 x 30 orbit. The spacecraft will then make its final descent for a lunar touchdown, which is expected to occur on August 23.

On the other hand, the propulsion module will continue in its current orbit for months or even years. The Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload aboard the module will carry out a series of experiments, such as a spectroscopic study of the Earth's atmosphere, measurement of variations in polarization from the clouds on Earth, and collection of Exoplanet signatures that would qualify for our habitability.

If Chandrayaan-3 successfully lands on the lunar surface, India will become the fourth nation to touch down on lunar soil, after the US, former USSR, and China.

Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Whatsapp channel,Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 18 Aug, 14:21 IST