Chandrayaan-3: India’s 3rd Lunar Mission

India has created history as it became the first country to land near the South Pole of lunar surface. After a 40-day journey starting from the Sathish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 mission has landed successfully.

  • August 23 will be celebrated as National Space Day.
  • The Vikram Lander touched down on the lunar South Pole at 6.04 pm on August 23, 2023, propelling the country to an exclusive club of four and making it the first country to land on the uncharted surface of the South Pole.

About Chandrayaan-3

  • Launched on- July 14, 2023
  • Launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
  • Launched from- Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh
  • Landing date- The spacecraft successfully landed at the south pole of the Moon on August 23, 2023.
  • Budget- around Rs. 615 crore
  • August 5, 2023- the ISRO completed the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) to successfully put the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into the moon’s orbit.
  • August 17, 2023- Lander Module is successfully separated from the Propulsion Module.
  • India joined the coveted list of countries to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.
    • So far the US, the erstwhile Soviet Union, and China are the only countries to accomplish it.
  • Landing point name of Chandrayaan-3 is Shivashakti and of Chandrayaan-2 is Tiranga.
  • The Emirates Lunar Mission was the first mission to the Moon from the United Arab Emirates.
  • The mission by Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) sent à lunar rover named Rashid to the Moon aboard Ispace’s Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander.
  • It was launched on 11 December 2022 on a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, and the rover attempted to land in Atlas crater. On 25 April 2023, seconds before an attempted landing, communication with the Hakuto- R lander was lost and mission was declared failed.

History of Lunar Exploration

  • In the year 1959, ‘Luna-1’ of the then Soviet Union became the first spacecraft to reach the Moon.
  • Later, in the year 1959, ‘Luna-2’ landed on the surface of the moon. It was the first spacecraft to do so.
  • ‘Apollo 10’ did a simulated moon landing in May 1969, while in July 1969 ‘Apollo-11’ mission of America made the human landing possible; Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon.
  • In the year 1970, the Soviet Union’s ‘Lunokhod-1’ became the first robotic rover to successfully explore the surface of another planet/satellite beyond Earth.
  • China’s first lunar mission Chang’e-1 was launched in the year 2007.

Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM3) -M4

  • LVM3 is the operational heavy lift launch vehicle of ISRO and has a spectacular pedigree of completing 6 consecutive successful missions. LVM3-M4 Vehicle Height: 43.5 m Lift-off Mass: 6421
  • This is the 4th operational flight of LVM3, that launched the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft to Geo Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Key Features of the Chandrayaan-3 Mission

  • Chandrayaan-3 consists of an indigenous propulsion module, lander module (lander name- Vikram), and a rover (name – Pragyan) with the objective of developing and demonstrating new technologies required for inter-planetary missions.
  • The propulsion module carried the lander and rover from injection orbit to till 100 km lunar orbit.
    • It also carries a Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planetary Earth (SHAPE) payload to study the spectral and polarimetric measurements of earth from the lunar orbit.
  • The main function of Propulsion Module is to carry the Lander module (LM) from launch vehicle injection orbit to till Lander separation.

Lander payloads

  • RAMBHA-LP (Langmuir Probe) – To measure the near surface plasma (ions and electrons) density and its changes with time.
  • ChaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermo-physical Experiment) To carry out the measurements of thermal properties of lunar surface near polar region.
  • ILSA (Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity)- To measure seismicity around the landing site and delineating the structure of the lunar crust and mantle.

Rover Payloads

  • APXS (Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer)- To derive the chemical composition and infer mineralogical composition to further enhance our understanding of lunar surface.
  • LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope)- To determine the elemental composition (Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca,Ti, Fe) of lunar soil and rocks around the lunar landing site.
    1. Name Pragyan
    2. Payload – 2
    3. Power-50 Watt
    4. Mission Life 1 Lunar Day
    5. Total Mass 26 kg
    6. Payload APXS, LIBS

Previous Missions to Moon by India

  • Chandrayaan-1: India’s Maiden Lunar Mission.
    • India’s lunar exploration missions began. with Chandrayaan-1 in 2008, which aimed to create a three-dimensional atlas of the moon and conduct mineralogical mapping
    • It was launched by launch Vehicle PSLV-
      CII. Chandrayaan-1 made significant discoveries, including the detection of water and hydroxyl on the lunar surface.
  • Chandrayaan-2: Partial Success and Discoveries
    • It was launched on July 22, 2019, Chandrayaan-2 aimed for a soft landing on the moon’s South Pole. Consisted of an orbiter, a lander named Vikram, and a rover named Pragyan
    • It was launched by launch Vehicle GSLV MkIIIMI
    • Although the lander and rover crashed on the moon’s surface, the Orbiter successfully collected data and found signatures of water at all latitudes.
  • Changes and Improvements in Chandrayaan-3
    • The rover is equipped with hazard detection and avoidance systems, ensuring a safe traversal of the moon’s surface.
    • Landing site – The site is at around 70 degree S near the Southern pole of the moon. Physical modifications have been made to enhance stability and sturdiness.
    • The Chandrayaan-3 Lander has solar panels on four sides, instead of only two in Chandrayaan-2.
    • The landing area has also been expanded from a patch of 500mx 500m to a broad 4kmx2.4km arca.
  • Additional navigational and guidance instruments are on board Chandrayaan-3 to continuously monitor the Lander’s speed and make the necessary corrections.
The objectives of Chandrayaan-3

  • The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are:
    • To demonstrate Safe and Soft Landing on Lunar Surface.
    • To demonstrate Rover roving on the moon.
    • To conduct in-situ scientific experiments.


About Luna-25

  • Luna-25 is Russia’s first moon mission since Luna- 24 in 1976.
  • Luna-25 was launched on August 11, 2023 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s far eastern Amur Region.
  • Luna-25 circled the moon, the earth’s only natural satellite, for around 5 days, then changed course for a soft landing on the lunar south pole planned for August 21, 2023. On August 19, 2023, the lander was crashed on the moon’s surface after a failed orbital manoeuvre.