ISRO Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a significant milestone on Friday as it successfully conducted the first de-boosting manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar mission. This operation aimed to reduce the velocity of the spacecraft, a critical step for achieving a soft landing on the moon’s surface.
This achievement followed the successful separation of the lander module (LM) from the propulsion module, which occurred a day earlier.
The LM underwent the de-boosting operation, effectively altering its orbit to 113 km x 157 km. The second de-boosting operation is scheduled for August 20, 2023, as announced by ISRO.
The subsequent de-boosting operation holds paramount importance, as it paves the way for the planned landing of the spacecraft on August 23, between 5:30 pm and 6 pm.
Chandrayaan-3, a successor to the 2019 Chandrayaan-2 mission, is designed to accomplish three primary objectives. Firstly, it aims to demonstrate a safe and successful soft landing on the lunar surface—a feat that was not achieved during Chandrayaan-2. Secondly, it strives to showcase the rover’s capabilities on the moon’s surface. Lastly, Chandrayaan-3 intends to conduct in-situ scientific experiments, contributing to our understanding of the moon.
ISRO’s senior scientists explained that Chandrayaan-3 comprises an indigenous lander module, propulsion module, and a rover, with the primary objective of developing and demonstrating new technologies essential for interplanetary missions.
The lander module possesses the capability for soft landing on a predetermined lunar site and deploying the rover. The rover will undertake in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface during its mobility.
After separation from the propulsion module, the latter will continue to orbit the moon for approximately six months. The propulsion module carries the ‘Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE)’ payload, tasked with studying spectral and polarimetric measurements of Earth from the lunar orbit. This payload will collect data about Earth’s atmosphere and measure variations in polarization from its clouds, ultimately aiding the identification of habitable exoplanets.
As the mission progresses, ISRO will perform a de-boosting manoeuvre on August 18, leading up to the anticipated landing on the moon’s surface on August 23. This series of intricate operations and ambitious goals highlight India’s continued commitment to space exploration and scientific advancements.