Space enthusiasts across the country, nay the world, are waiting on the edge of their seats to witness history being charted via the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3. Today, India’s third lunar mission will attempt a soft landing on the south pole of the Moon, marking a historical milestone in lunar exploration by an Indian spacecraft.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-3 on 14 July 2023 and it’s scheduled to land on the moon a little after 6 pm IST today. The Vikram lander is set to make contact with the surface near the barely-explored lunar south pole, marking a first for any space programme in the world.
Despite several daunting challenges, like the possibility of a soft landing on the Moon being hampered by the lack of atmosphere or the lunar dust, ISRO scientists are optimistic about the mission’s success.
Over the years, ISRO has managed to advance India’s space programme greatly and today could be an indelible moment in the world’s space exploration history. And if you, like most people in the world, are waiting with bated breathe to find out what happens, here’s all the details you need to know.
Where to watch the Chandrayaan-3 moon landing live?
And regardless of how the landing goes today, ISRO has worked tirelessly to put India on the world map with its missions, since its inception in 1969. So, whether we make history or not, we’re walking down the memory lane to revisit some of ISRO’s biggest milestones in space exploration.
5 ISRO Missions That Created History
1. Launch of 104 satellites in one mission in 2017
In one of the most complicated missions in the history of India’s space programme, ISRO managed to launch 104 satellites via a single rocket back in 2017. It managed to do so in partnership with six other nations and by employing the powerful PSLV-C37. This mission broke Russia’s record of 37 satellites being launched in a single mission.
2. Mangalyaan in 2014
Mars Orbiter Mission, or Mangalyaan, truly made the world sit up and take note of India’s superior space know-how. It was India’s first interplanetary mission and made ISRO the fourth space agency to achieve Mars orbit. Not only did Mangalyaan make India the first Asian nation to attain this feat, but also made it the first country to get it right in its very first attempt. Not only did Mangalyaan have several women scientists holding key portfolios, it was also completed in a budget of INR 42 billion, which is considered much cheaper than the Western standard.
3. Chandrayaan-1 in 2008
India’s first lunar probe under the Chandrayaan programme was launched in 2008. It managed to successfully orbit the moon, made significant discoveries and acted as a major boost to the Indian space programme. The Moon Impact Probe, a 32-kg device aboard the Chandrayaan designed to crash on the surface of the moon, managed to discover the existence of minuscule amounts of water in the moon’s atmosphere during this mission.
4. Chandrayaan-2 in 2019
The second lunar mission was a partial success as the lander faced a soft landing failure. However, the orbiter continues to operate without any hitch. It carried eight scientific instruments that are being used to study the lunar surface in detail and helped achieve a better understanding for future lunar missions, like Chandrayaan-3.
5. Aryabhatta Satellite in 1975
None of these milestones could have been possible had it not been for the successful launch of India’s first satellite. Named after the 5th-century astronomer and mathematician, the Aryabhatta satellite was launched on April 19, 1975. It was built by ISRO and launched by the Soviet Union as part of its Soviet Interkosmos programme which provided access to space for friendly nations.
Are you excited to watch Chandrayaan-3 land on the Moon?!