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India announces schedule of Moon mission's soft landing
The memory of Chandrayaan-2 from 2019 still lingers, especially the challenges faced by the Vikram lander during its descent. While it resulted in a hard landing, the mission's orbiter continues to provide invaluable lunar insights, proving instrumental in planning and executing the ongoing Chandrayaan-3 mission.
India announces schedule of Moon mission's soft landing
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Aug 22, 2023

In an eagerly awaited announcement, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has confirmed the Chandrayaan-3 mission's Lander Module is on track for a soft landing on the Moon's surface on August 23 at approximately 6:04 pm Indian Standard Time. This development has further ignited nationwide interest and excitement.

ISRO, showcasing its commitment to transparency and public engagement, declared that this monumental event will be broadcast live. Enthusiasts can tune in through ISRO's official website, the state-owned television channel Doordarshan, or various other platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.

The Chandrayaan-3, launched on July 14, has achieved a series of milestones leading to this lunar first. Notably, the Lander Module separated from the main spacecraft just last Thursday.

To further stoke educational interest and inspire future scientists, ISRO has extended an invitation to all educational establishments across the nation. They are encouraged to promote the Chandrayaan-3 soft landing among students and facilitate live-streaming within their campuses, thus ensuring that the next generation remains connected to India's space endeavors.

Leading up to this momentous occasion, Chandrayaan-3 has seen a series of orbital maneuvers. As of August 19, its Lander Module had achieved an orbit of 113 km x 157 km around the Moon, with a secondary de-boosting operation scheduled for today. August 17 witnessed the successful separation of the Lander Module from the Propulsion Module, with a subsequent de-boosting executed the following day.

This series of operations have consistently optimized the spacecraft's trajectory, as evidenced by its orbital transitions, moving from 174 km x 1437 km on August 9 to 151 km x 179 km on August 14, and then to 153 km x 163 km on August 16.

The attempt comes against the backdrop of several unsuccessful moon landings in recent years. Japan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and, most recently, Russia have all faced challenges in their lunar ambitions. Russia's lander met a catastrophic end this Saturday, when it crashed onto the Moon's surface.

While ISRO's teams at the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) and the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antenna at Byalalu have been diligent in their tracking and monitoring tasks, international partnerships with the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have been crucial in ensuring the mission's accuracy and success.

The central objective of Chandrayaan-3 is to establish the capability for a successful soft landing on the Moon, with this mission focusing exclusively on a lander and a rover. A renewed interest in the Moon's South Polar region has been driven by its potential water ice reserves, a key resource for subsequent lunar missions and deeper space explorations.

The memory of Chandrayaan-2 from 2019 still lingers, especially the challenges faced by the Vikram lander during its descent. While it resulted in a hard landing, the mission's orbiter continues to provide invaluable lunar insights, proving instrumental in planning and executing the ongoing Chandrayaan-3 mission.

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Chandrayaan-3 nears landing with successful orbital adjustments
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Aug 17, 2023
The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbit to 153 km x 163 km, as reported by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today. This precise maneuvering is a pivotal step as the mission gears up for its anticipated soft landing on the Moon's South Polar region on August 23. In the days leading up to this current status, the spacecraft had undergone significant orbital changes. On August 14, during its orbit circularisation phase, the spacecraft achieved a position of 151 k ... read more

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