India’s moon lander Chandrayaan-3 successfully set its four legs softly and safely on the lunar soil on the evening of August 23 as planned. With this successful mission, India became the fourth country in the world to successfully land on the moon, after the former USSR, the United States and China, and marks its emergence as a space power. The lander landed near the South Pole of the moon after travelling about 3.84 lakh km for over 40 days. With the landing, a major portion of the Rs 600 crore Chandrayaan-3 mission has been realised.
The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft comprises a propulsion module (weighing 2,148 kg), a lander (1,723.89 kg) and a rover (26 kg). The Chandrayaan-3 is expected to remain functional for two weeks, running a series of experiments including a spectrometer analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar surface. The Chandrayaan-3 is aimed at the lunar South Pole, a region with water ice, or frozen water, that could be a source of oxygen, fuel and water for future moon missions or a more permanent moon colony.
The successful landing shows the potential of the Indian space sector and India’s emergence as a prominent player in the region beyond Earth’s orbit. It is also a harbinger of the exciting opportunities that it brings for private players. While this is Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) mission, many other private companies have contributed towards the goal, like Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Walchandnagar Industries, Centum Electronics, Godrej & Boyce and Ananth Technologies.
This significant accomplishment underscores the increasing accessibility of space and showcases India’s unwavering determination and persistence in accomplishing challenging space missions. Now that it has joined the elite space club, India is also looking to spur investment in private space launches and related satellite-based businesses. India wants its private space companies to increase their share of the global launch market by fivefold within the next decade.
Chandrayaan-3 is the culmination of decades of relentless pursuit of excellence by our scientists, and, at the same time, it is a stepping stone for our country’s ambitious space exploration programmes. With the new space policy, upcoming missions such as Aditya-L1, Gaganyaan and future missions to Mars and beyond, India is preparing for the hitherto unexplored frontiers of space.
The successful moon shot has come like a booster shot for ISRO, which is now gearing up for a mission to the Sun. The Aditya-L1 spacecraft — the first space-based Indian observatory to study the Sun — is at India’s rocket port in Sriharikota and is getting ready for the launch. ISRO will be sending up its Aditya-L1, a coronagraphy satellite, on a PSLV rocket to study the solar atmosphere towards the end of August or early September. ISRO has also slated a flight to Venus — Venus Mission — in 2024. Whether it is going to be a ‘Night Flight to Venus’ will be known later.