Chandrayaan-3: India's Third Lunar Mission Set to Launch on July 14, 2023

Chandrayaan 3. Image Credit: ISRO

June 28, 2023 - India's space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is gearing up for its highly anticipated lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3. Scheduled to launch on July 14, 2023, this mission aims to build upon the achievements of Chandrayaan-2 and further explore the lunar surface. Let's delve into the details of Chandrayaan-3 and the objectives it seeks to accomplish.

Objective and Design:

Chandrayaan-3 will consist of a lander and a rover, similar to its predecessor. However, unlike Chandrayaan-2, it will not have an orbiter. The propulsion module will act as a communications relay satellite and will carry the lander and rover to a 100km lunar orbit. The lander is equipped with four throttle-able engines, and notable enhancements have been made to its impact legs and instrumentation redundancy. The addition of a Laser Doppler Velocimeter (LDV) and multiple contingency systems further improve its capabilities.

The mission has three main objectives. Firstly, it aims to achieve a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface, learning from the previous mission's experience. Secondly, the rover will demonstrate its ability to navigate and explore the Moon's terrain effectively. Lastly, Chandrayaan-3 will conduct in-situ scientific observations to better understand the chemical composition and natural elements, including soil and water, on the lunar surface.

Background and Collaboration:

Chandrayaan-3 comes as a response to the challenges faced during the Chandrayaan-2 mission, where a last-minute software glitch hindered a successful soft landing attempt. This new mission is part of ISRO's efforts to demonstrate the landing capabilities required for future Lunar Polar Exploration Missions.

Earlier reports suggested a collaboration with Japan, with India providing the lander and Japan offering the launcher and rover. The joint mission was expected to focus on the lunar south pole, involving site sampling and lunar night survival technologies. However, following the Vikram lander's failure, the pursuit of another mission was undertaken to showcase landing capabilities for the proposed Lunar Polar Exploration Mission, planned for 2025 in partnership with Japan.

Funding and Costs:

To support the Chandrayaan-3 project, ISRO requested initial funding of ₹75 crore (approximately US$9.4 million). Out of this amount, ₹60 crore (approximately US$7.5 million) will be allocated for machinery, equipment, and other capital expenses, while the remaining ₹15 crore (approximately US$1.9 million) is sought under revenue expenditure.

With the launch of Chandrayaan-3 scheduled for July 14, 2023, ISRO aims to overcome the challenges faced during Chandrayaan-2 and make significant advancements in lunar exploration. This mission will pave the way for future lunar missions, improve our understanding of the Moon's composition, and demonstrate India's capabilities in space exploration. Stay tuned for more updates as Chandrayaan-3 embarks on its journey to unravel the mysteries of the lunar surface.