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With the successful launch of its Chandrayaan-3 mission on Friday, India is attempting to
become just the fourth nation to successfully carry out a controlled landing on the moon.
Soon after 2:30 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET), Chandrayaan, which is Sanskrit for “moon vehicle”
launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, southern Andhra Pradesh. More
than 1 million people watched the historic launch online in addition to the large crowds that
assembled at the space centre.
India is attempting a soft landing for the second time after Chandrayaan-2, its last attempt,
failed in 2019. Chandrayaan-1, its first lunar mission, orbited the moon before being
purposefully crash-landed into the lunar surface in 2008.
Chandrayaan-3, created by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), consists of a
lander, a propulsion module, and a rover. In order to gather information and carry out a number
of scientific tests to better understand the makeup of the moon, it will safely land there.
Only the United States, Russia, and China have successfully completed the challenging task of
soft-landing a spacecraft on the moon’s surface.
On the launch, Indian engineers have been working for many years. They intend to set down
Chandrayaan-3 close to the difficult terrain of the undiscovered South Pole of the moon.
Chandrayaan-1, India’s first lunar mission, found water molecules on the moon’s surface. The
Chandrayaan-2 successfully entered lunar orbit eleven years later, but its rover impacted the
moon’s surface. It was also planned to investigate the South Pole of the moon.
Despite the mission’s failure, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the engineers
behind it and pledged to continue working on India’s space programme and goals.
Just prior to the launch of Chandrayaan-3 on Friday, Modi promised that the occasion “will always be etched in golden letters as far as India’s space sector is concerned.”
He wrote on Twitter, “This remarkable mission will carry the hopes and dreams of our nation.”
The cost of India’s Chandrayaan-3 project has subsequently risen to roughly $75 million. The
Chandrayaan-3 will travel more than 300,000 kilometres (186,411 miles), according to Modi, and will
arrive on the moon in the “coming weeks.”
Years of preparation for Chandrayaan-3
India has had a space programme for more than 60 years, while the country was still a young
republic and was suffering from a terrible division. The nation was no match for the aspirations
of the US and the former Soviet Union, who were well ahead in the space race, when it launched
its first rocket into space in 1963. India now has the fifth-largest economy in the world and is
the most populated country. It has a sizable young population and is home to an expanding
innovation and technological centre.
Additionally, under Modi, India’s space goals have been playing catch up. The leader sees
India’s space programme as a sign of the nation’s increasing significance on the international
scene after being elected in 2014 on a platform of nationalism and future grandeur.
India launched the Mangalyaan spacecraft into orbit around Mars in 2014, becoming the first
Asian country to do so. The mission cost $74 million to launch, less than the $100 million
Hollywood spent on the space drama “Gravity.” India set a record by launching 104 satellites
in one operation three years later.
India claimed to have shot down one of its own satellites in an alleged anti-satellite test in 2019,
making it one of only four nations to have done so, according to Modi in a rare broadcast
address. In the same year, India’s previous head of ISRO, Kailasavadivoo Sivan, stated that the
country intended to launch a space station by 2030. The International Space Station, a multinational project, and China’s Tiangong Space Station are the only space stations currently
accessible to expedition crews.
Space technology has become one of India’s hottest investment industries because to its rapid
expansion and innovation, and foreign leaders seem to have taken note. The White House stated
that when Modi and US President Joe Biden met in Washington last month on a state visit, they
both desired greater cooperation in the space sector. Additionally, India has space aspirations
beyond the moon and Mars. Additionally, ISRO has suggested sending an orbiter to Venus.