An Indian spacecraft has blazed its way to the far side of the moon in a follow-up mission to its failed effort nearly four years ago to land a rover softly on the lunar surface, India’s space agency said.
Chandrayaan-3, the word for “moon craft” in Sanskrit, took off from a launch pad in Sriharikota, an island in southern India, with an orbiter, a lander and a rover, in a demonstration of India’s emerging space technology. The spacecraft will embark on a journey lasting slightly over a month before landing on the moon’s surface later in August.
Applause and cheers swept through mission control at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, where engineers and scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) celebrated as they monitored the launch of the spacecraft. Thousands of Indians cheered outside the mission control centre and waved the national flag as they watched the spacecraft rise into the sky.
“Congratulations India. Chandrayaan-3 has started its journey towards the moon,” said the ISRO director, Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, shortly after the launch.
A successful landing would make India the fourth country – after the United States, the Soviet Union and China – to achieve the feat.
The six-wheeled lander and rover module of Chandrayaan-3 is configured with payloads that would provide data to the scientific community on the properties of lunar soil and rocks, including chemical and elemental compositions, said Dr Jitendra Singh, the junior minister for science and technology.
India’s previous attempt to land a robotic spacecraft near the moon’s little-explored south pole ended in failure in 2019. It entered the lunar orbit but lost touch with its lander that crashed while making its final descent to deploy a rover to search for signs of water. According to a failure analysis report submitted to the ISRO, the…
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