The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has launched a ground-breaking mission to land a spacecraft at the lunar south pole, a move that could propel India into space exploration.
On Friday, television broadcasts displayed the ISRO’s LVM3 launch vehicle ascending from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh’s primary spaceport. The launch marked the beginning of the Chandrayaan-3 mission – “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, intended to deploy a lander and a rover near the moon’s south pole around August 23.
The successful launch sparked applause and cheers at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, the heart of mission control, where ISRO’s engineers and scientists watched the spacecraft’s journey begin. ISRO Director Sreedhara Panicker Somanath proudly said, “Chandrayaan-3 has started its journey towards the moon.”
The significance of India’s mission is highlighted by the fact that only three other space agencies – those from the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China – have managed to land on the lunar surface. However, none have attempted a landing near the lunar south pole, which is the aim of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft features a two-meter-tall lander designed to deploy a rover near the lunar south pole. The rover is expected to conduct a series of experiments during its functional period of two weeks.