Eassy on Chandrayaan-3, written by a senior secondary school boy
As the sun sets on August 23, 2023, a significant moment in India’s space exploration history will unfold. At 5.45 p.m. IST, the world will witness Chandrayaan-3’s powered descent onto the unexplored terrain of the Moon’s south pole. This mission, launched over a month ago on a GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, marks a remarkable achievement for India and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
This groundbreaking endeavor demonstrates India’s prowess in space science and technology, setting the nation as the first to target a landing on the uncharted south pole of the Moon. Chandrayaan-3’s primary objective is to showcase end-to-end landing and roving capabilities, proving our nation’s capabilities in the highlands near the Moon’s south pole, and conducting vital in-situ experiments.
The journey of Chandrayaan-3 has been a meticulously planned and executed process, full of critical milestones:
The journey commenced on July 14, 2023, when Chandrayaan-3 lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on a GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle at 2.35pm IST, embarking on its precise orbit towards the Moon.
In a series of orbit-raising maneuvers, the spacecraft steadily approached its destination. By August 5, 2023, Chandrayaan-3 was successfully inserted into the lunar orbit as intended, poised at an orbit of 164 km x 18074 km.
The spacecraft’s meticulous maneuvers and reductions brought it closer to the Moon’s surface. By August 20, 2023, the lander module’s orbit had been carefully adjusted to 25 km x 134 km in preparation for its anticipated powered descent.
The culmination of this journey is set for August 23, 2023, when Chandrayaan-3’s powered descent is scheduled to begin at 5.45 p.m. IST, with a touchdown expected at 6.04 p.m. This event is poised to be a defining moment in India’s space exploration, showcasing our nation’s scientific prowess and technological innovation.
The significance of Chandrayaan-3’s mission extends beyond its successful landing. It symbolizes our nation’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of exploration and knowledge. By venturing into uncharted territories, we not only expand our understanding of the cosmos but also inspire generations to come.
As a senior secondary student, witnessing this milestone evokes a sense of pride and excitement. Chandrayaan-3’s journey reminds us that with dedication, innovation, and collaboration, we can achieve the extraordinary. This mission is not only a giant leap for India but also a giant leap for humanity’s quest to understand the universe.
Chandrayaan-3’s impending landing on the Moon’s south pole signifies a remarkable feat in space exploration. Its journey, marked by precise maneuvers and unwavering determination, is a testament to the spirit of discovery that drives our nation forward. Let us all eagerly await this historic moment, celebrating India’s continued excellence in the field of space science and exploration.
Story of Chandrayaan-3 Journey
Chandrayaan 3’s journey to the Moon’s south pole marks a significant milestone in India’s space exploration program. This mission, led by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), aims to demonstrate landing and roving capabilities on the lunar surface while also conducting in-situ experiments. By venturing to the unexplored region of the Moon’s south pole, Chandrayaan 3 seeks to unlock new scientific discoveries and pave the way for future missions.
II. Background and Objectives of Chandrayaan 3
Scheduled for launch in early 2023, Chandrayaan 3 is an ambitious continuation of India’s lunar exploration program following the success of its predecessors, Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2. The spacecraft consists of an orbiter module, a lander module, and a rover module. It aims to further expand our understanding of the Moon’s geology, composition, and potentially discover water ice deposits at its south pole.
The primary objectives of this mission are threefold. First, it seeks to validate ISRO’s ability to successfully land on the lunar surface using advanced technologies such as powered descent operations. Second, it will evaluate the performance of a mobile rover that can navigate across challenging terrain on the Moon. Lastly, it aims to conduct in-situ experiments that will provide valuable insights into various aspects of lunar science.
III. Timeline of Chandrayaan 3 Mission
Leading up to its anticipated powered descent on August 23rd, 2023, several key events and milestones will take place during Chandrayaan 3’s journey.
Rehearsals will be conducted extensively prior to launch day in order to ensure smooth execution once on-site operations commence.
Orbit-raising maneuvers will be carried out after reaching Earth orbit so that sufficient energy can be accumulated for trans-lunar injection.
Insertion into lunar orbit will involve carefully calculated burns to position the spacecraft in an optimal location for the subsequent descent phase.
The lander module will separate from the orbiter module and descend towards the Moon’s surface using powered descent operations.
IV. The Powered Descent Process
The powered descent process is a critical operation that requires precise calculations and execution. It involves reducing the speed of the lander as it approaches the lunar surface, ensuring a soft landing without damaging any onboard equipment.
On August 23rd, 2023, at a specific time determined by ISRO, Chandrayaan 3’s lander will initiate its powered descent sequence. This operation includes firing thrusters to control its velocity and orientation while carefully navigating through various stages until touchdown on the Moon’s south pole region.
V. Challenges Faced during Chandrayaan 3 Journey
Undoubtedly, embarking on such a complex mission presents numerous challenges for ISRO. One major obstacle is overcoming technical complexities associated with precision landing near the rugged terrain of the Moon’s south pole, which features craters and uneven surfaces. Additionally, managing communication between Earth and Chandrayaan 3 during all phases of its journey poses significant challenges due to vast distances involved.
However, ISRO has proven its ability to overcome obstacles through meticulous planning and robust engineering solutions. Lessons learned from previous missions have been incorporated into Chandrayaan 3’s design and operational strategy, ensuring increased reliability and success rates.
VI. Scientific Significance and Potential Discoveries
Landing on the Moon’s south pole holds immense scientific significance for future space exploration endeavors. This unexplored region is believed to host water ice deposits in permanently shadowed areas which could potentially serve as valuable resources for sustaining human presence on future lunar missions or even further space exploration ventures beyond our own planet.
Furthermore, studying this unique region can shed light on various aspects of planetary science such as understanding early solar system dynamics, the history of lunar geology, and the potential for habitability in extreme environments. Chandrayaan 3’s in-situ experiments will provide crucial data to further our understanding of these topics and pave the way for future missions.
The journey of Chandrayaan 3 to the Moon’s south pole represents a significant milestone for India’s space exploration program. This ambitious mission aims to demonstrate landing and roving capabilities while conducting important scientific experiments on the lunar surface. Despite numerous challenges along the way, ISRO has displayed its ability to overcome obstacles through meticulous planning and engineering solutions.
By venturing into uncharted territory, Chandrayaan 3 seeks to unlock new scientific discoveries and potentially uncover valuable resources that could shape future space exploration endeavors. India’s achievement as the first country to land on the moon’s south pole with Chandrayaan 3 underscores its position as a global leader in space research and paves the way for further advancements in our understanding of celestial bodies beyond Earth.
- Honghua Zhang, et al. “Guidance Navigation and Control for Chang’E-5 Powered Descent.” Space: Science & Technology, 2021, https://doi.org/10.34133/2021/9823609.