India’s Chandrayaan-3 successfully soft-lands on Moon’s south pole

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At 17:57 IST, Chandrayaan-3 was 14 km away to make a touchdown. At 17:59 IST, the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan 3 began a fine braking phase and at 18:04 IST, it made its south landing on the south pole of the moon.

40 days after embarking on its maiden voyage to the south pole of the moon, the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan-3 has finally made its landing on the surface on the dark side of the moon. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) confirmed the landing exactly at 18:04 IST making India only the fourth country to soft land on the lunar surface and the first to do so on the south pole of the lunar surface. Thus, creating history and bringing the future of space exploration ahead.

The noteworthy success of Chandrayaan-3 came after India lost its second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 almost four years ago. Cut to now, Vikram made a textbook soft landing on the dark side of the moon reducing its velocity and adjusting its orientations as per the requirements of a soft landing.

ISRO started the automatic landing sequence at 17:44 IST and since then, has been posting real-time updates just as the ones you read earlier. According to ISO Chairman S Somnath, Vikram’s landing velocity was off by just 2m/sec than targeted, which builds great hope for future lunar missions. India’s PM Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO scientists speaking directly from South Africa.

ISRO launched Chandrayaan-2 in the hopes of making a soft landing on the moon in September 2019, however, the plan didn’t go through. Vikram of Chandrayaan-3 has been redesigned to withstand greater velocities than its predecessors and to overcome their shortcomings as well.

The success of ISRO comes days after Russia’s Luna-25 made a crash landing on the lunar surface en route to the south pole as well. However, it crashed while attempting a landing maneuver for its soft landing. Russia launched the Luna-25 spacecraft almost 49 years after its last lunar mission. Albeit it failed, there’s a lot of learning to obtain from such events. There’s no conclusive explanation for why Luna-25 failed, however, the investigation is going on and will help determine the cause soon.

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