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All set for India’s moon lander to touch down on lunar soil

The journey of Chandrayaan-3 is a reflection of ISRO's work culture

India’s moon lander is all set to make a landing on the lunar soil on August 23, 2023 evening as the final de-boosting operation got over in the wee hours of Sunday.

The moon lander or the lander is part of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft.

The spacecraft comprises a propulsion module (weighing 2,148 kg), a lander (1,723.89 kg) and a rover (26 kg).

“The second and final deboosting operation has successfully reduced the LM orbit to 25  km x 134 km. The module would undergo internal checks and await the sun-rise at the designated landing site. The powered descent is expected to commence on August 23, 2023, around 1745 Hrs. IST,” ISRO tweeted.

The 25km x 134 km was achieved at 1.50 a.m. on Sunday.

The main purpose of India’s third moon mission costing about Rs 600 crore is to land the lander softly on the moon.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission failed as the lander called ‘Vikram’ crashed on to the moon.

According to the ISRO, the lander is expected to make a soft-landing near the South Pole of the moon on August 23 at 5.47 p.m.

The lander will descend to the moon from a height of about 100 km from the moon’s surface.

The soft landing is a tricky issue as it involves a series of complex manoeuvres consisting of rough and fine braking.

Imaging of the landing site region prior to landing will be done for finding safe and hazard-free zones.

Subsequent to the soft landing, the six-wheeled rover will roll out and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of one lunar day which is equal to 14 earth days.

Meanwhile, the propulsion module will go around the moon for some more period with its payload Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planetary Earth (SHAPE) doing its job.

The Chandrayaan-3 was put into orbit on July 14 in a copybook style by India’s heavy lift rocket LVM3.

The spacecraft completed orbiting around the earth and headed towards the moon on August 1.

On that day a successful perigee-firing performed at ISTRAC, the ISRO had injected the spacecraft into the translunar orbit.

Also read: Chandrayaan-3 sends back first photos of Moon as it moves closer