“Chandrayaan 3: ISRO’s Ambitious Lunar Mission to the Moon’s South Pole for Groundbreaking Exploration, Scientific Measurements, and Demonstrating Advanced Landing and Roving Capabilities”

"Chandrayaan 3: ISRO's Ambitious Lunar Mission to the Moon's South Pole for Groundbreaking Exploration, Scientific Measurements, and Demonstrating Advanced Landing and Roving Capabilities"

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is all set to embark on another lunar mission with Chandrayaan 3. This mission aims to demonstrate the capabilities of landing and roving on the Moon’s south pole. Scheduled for launch in August 2023, Chandrayaan 3 will carry a lander, a rover, and a propulsion module. In this article, we will delve into the details of the mission, the spacecraft and subsystems involved, and the scientific objectives it aims to achieve.

is an upcoming lunar mission by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Building upon the success of Chandrayaan 2, this mission aims to achieve a soft landing of a lander and rover near the south pole of the Moon. It will also conduct scientific experiments and gather valuable data to enhance our understanding of the lunar surface.

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2. Objectives of Chandrayaan 3

The primary objectives of the Chandrayaan 3 mission are as follows:

  • Demonstrate end-to-end landing and roving capabilities near the south pole of the Moon.
  • Conduct scientific measurements on the lunar surface and from lunar orbit.
  • Study the gas and plasma environment of the Moon.
  • Measure lunar seismic activity and study the thermal properties of the lunar surface.
  • Study Earth from lunar orbit.

3. Spacecraft and Subsystems

Chandrayaan 3 consists of three main components: the propulsion module, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan rover.

The Propulsion Module

The propulsion module serves as a communications relay satellite and is responsible for carrying the lander and rover to lunar orbit. It features a box-like structure with a large solar panel and a mounting structure called the Intermodule Adapter Cone. The propulsion module has a mass of 2145.01 kg, with most of it being propellant for the bi-propellant propulsion system. It generates a power of 738 W and uses S-Band communication. It is equipped with various attitude sensors for navigation and control.

The Vikram Lander

Named after the renowned Indian space program pioneer Vikram Sarabhai, the Vikram lander plays a crucial role in the Chandrayaan 3 mission. It is a box-shaped structure with landing legs and thrusters for a soft touchdown on the lunar surface. The lander has a mass of 1749.86 kg, including the 26 kg Pragyan rover. It generates a power of 738 W using solar panels. The Vikram lander is equipped with a suite of sensors for safe landing, including accelerometers, altimeters, Doppler velocimeter, star sensors, and more. It carries the Pragyan rover for deployment onto the lunar surface.

The Pragyan Rover

The Pragyan rover, meaning “wisdom” in Sanskrit, is a small robotic vehicle designed to explore the lunar surface. It has a rectangular chassis mounted on a six-wheel rocker-bogie wheel drive assembly. The rover carries navigation cameras and a solar panel to generate 50 W of power. It communicates directly with the lander via antennas.

4. Instruments and Scientific Measurements

Chandrayaan 3 carries a set of instruments to conduct scientific measurements and experiments on the Moon. These instruments include:

  • Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE): Measures surface thermal properties.
  • Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA): Measures seismicity around the landing site.
  • Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA): Studies the gas and plasma environment.
  • Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS): Analyzes the local surface elemental composition.
  • Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS): Provides further insights into surface composition.
  • Spectropolarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE): Observes Earth from lunar orbit.
5. Mission Profile

Chandrayaan 3 was launched on July 14, 2023, at 9:05:17 UT (2:35 p.m. India standard time) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. The mission utilized the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy lift launch vehicle. After reaching an elliptic parking orbit, the propulsion module will maneuver the lander/rover into a circular polar lunar orbit at an altitude of 100 km. The separation between the propulsion module and the lander/rover is expected to occur in August. The lander will then touch down near the south pole of the Moon, specifically near coordinates 69.37 S, 32.35 E, with a planned touchdown velocity of less than 2 m/s vertical and 0.5 m/s horizontal. The propulsion module will remain in lunar orbit to facilitate communications with Earth, while Chandrayaan 2 will act as a backup relay. The lander and rover are designed to operate for approximately one lunar daylight period, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days.

6. Conclusion

Chandrayaan 3 is an ambitious lunar mission by the Indian Space Research Organization. With its primary focus on achieving a successful landing and roving mission near the Moon’s south pole, it aims to pave the way for further exploration and scientific advancements. By conducting various experiments and measurements, Chandrayaan 3 will contribute significantly to our understanding of the lunar surface and its environment.

7. FAQs

1. How is Chandrayaan 3 different from Chandrayaan 2? Chandrayaan 3 builds upon the technology and experience gained from Chandrayaan 2. It incorporates improvements to ensure a safe landing and enhanced scientific capabilities.

2. What are the scientific instruments carried by the Pragyan rover? The Pragyan rover carries an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and a Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) to study the local surface elemental composition.

3. How long will the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover operate on the Moon? The Vikram lander and Pragyan rover are designed to operate for approximately one lunar daylight period, which lasts about 14 Earth days.

4. What is the role of the propulsion module in Chandrayaan 3? The propulsion module carries the lander and rover to lunar

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