India has created history as it became the first country to land on the South Pole of the lunar surface.
The Lander Module (LM) of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) third lunar mission Chandrayaan-3, launched on July 14, landed successfully on the moon’s surface today.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission is the triumph of thousands of scientists who have worked over the decades to get ISRO to where it is now, making it a global space powerhouse.
ISRO proudly shared on X: “Chandrayaan-3 Mission: ‘India, I reached my destination and you too!’: Chandrayaan-3 Chandrayaan-3 has successfully soft-landed on the moon! Congratulations, India!”
ISRO chairperson S Somanath congratulated project director P Veeramuthuvel, assistant director Kalpana, mission director Srikanth and URSC director V Sankaran for the success. Chandrayaan 3 project director P Veeramuthuvel reiterated how ISRO is the first to land near the south pole of the moon. “Most memorable and happiest moment,” added assistant director Kalpana.
PM Modi congratulated Indians and space scientists for the achievement. ‘India will remember this day forever’ PM Modi said.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi congratulated ISRO: “Congratulations to Team ISRO for today’s pioneering feat. #Chandrayaan3’s soft landing on the uncharted lunar South Pole is the result of decades of tremendous ingenuity and hard work by our scientific community. Since 1962, India’s space program has continued to scale new heights and inspire generations of young dreamers.”
NASA administrator Bill Nelson congratulated ISRO on its success with Chandrayaan-3 in a post on X.
As the lander touched the lunar surface precisely at 6.03 pm there was cheering at the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bengaluru.
The Pragyan rover is expected to come out in the coming hours. The Lander will deploy the Rover, which will carry out in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface during the course of its mobility.
The real test of the mission began at the last leg of the landing.
Prior to 20 minutes before landing, ISRO initiated Automatic Landing Sequence (ALS). It enabled Vikram LM to take charge and use its on-board computers and logic to identify a favourable spot and make a soft-landing on the lunar surface.
Experts say that the final 15 to 20 minutes were highly crucial for the success of the mission when Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander descended down to its soft landing. Due to high risk to the spacecraft minutes before moon landing, the duration is dubbed by many as “20 or 17 minutes of terror”. During this phase, the whole process became autonomous, where Vikram lander ignited its own engines at the right times and altitudes.
Given the history of India’s second lunar mission, which failed during the last 20 minutes before landing, ISRO was extra-cautious this time in the process.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission is the follow-up to the Chandrayaan-2 mission of 2019, when the Vikram lander crashed into the lunar surface.
With the mission, India has joined a small and exclusive club of countries that have managed to soft land on the moon — the United States, the Soviet Union and China.
(Picture Courtesy: AFP)