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Chandrayaan-3 Launch: How Will India's Third Lunar Mission Land on the Moon?

Chandrayaan-3, the successor to Chandrayaan-2, is ISRO's third attempt to explore the Moon's surface.

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Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

India's third lunar exploration mission, Chandrayaan-3, will launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota at 2.35 pm on Friday, 14 July 2023.

Chandrayaan-3, the successor to Chandrayaan-2, is the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) third attempt to explore the Moon's surface. The mission aims to put a lander and a rover on the Moon, four years after Chandrayaan-2 failed the mission in 2019.

The ISRO Chandrayaan-3 launch will be telecast live. After Chandrayaan-2's failure, ISRO had said that it has learned from its experiences, and equipped Chandrayaan-3 with fewer parts and equipment. Chandrayaan-3 has seven payloads as compared to the 14 payloads that were onboard Chandrayaan-2.

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What Are They Strapping Onto Chandrayaan-3?

The Chandrayaan-3 will be carrying:

  1. Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA)

  2. Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE)

  3. Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA)

  4. Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) Rover

  5. Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS)

  6. Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) Propulsion Module

  7. Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE)

In simpler terms, Chandrayaan-3 has a Moon lander, a Moon rover, a propulsion module, and a lander propulsion module to aid in the landing and exploration of the Moon. The science payloads on Chandrayaan-3 will be used to provide information on the Moon's surface to mission control at ISRO.

When and How Will Chandrayaan-3 Touch Down?

Chandrayaan-3 will be propelled from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota via the Launch Vehicle Mark III (LVM3). The LVM-3 was formerly known as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-3). ISRO will launch Chandrayaan-3 between 2.35 and 2:45 PM IST on Friday, 14 July.

Once launched, the propulsion module of Chandrayaan-3 will push it into Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), where it will slowly orbit the Earth, before being inserted into Lunar Transfer Trajectory. Next, it'll be inserted into the Moon's orbit, and slowly approach the Moon while continuing to orbit it.

As Chandrayaan-3 nears the Moon and gets within 100x100 km of the Moon, its landing propulsion module will engage, slowing its descent and fall velocity.

Once it gets closer, mission control will slowly de-boost Chandrayaan-3 further and land it on the Moon. The whole process from launch to touchdown on the Moon is expected to take around 40 days, ending between 23-24 August 2023.

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