India launches a lunar mission in an effort to win this year’s race around the moon.

The first of as many as six missions that could land on the moon in the upcoming months is Chandrayaan-3, a partly rerun of a 2019 mission that ended in a crash.

On Friday afternoon local time, a rocket launched from Sriharikota, a launch facility off the country’s east coast, and is now on its way back to the moon.

The country’s first attempt to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon’s surface three years ago resulted in a crash and a crater, thus the Chandrayaan-3 mission is mainly a redo.

There has been a resurgence in interest in moon exploration as of Chandrayaan-3. A half-dozen robotic missions from Russia, Japan, and the United States could travel there this year and next, and both China and the United States plan to deploy astronauts there in the upcoming years.

ALSO READ: Chandrayaan-3 Rover: A New Mission to Explore the Moon

Chandrayaan-3’s robotic lander and rover would be the first in the world outside of China to successfully land intact, which would contribute to India’s sense of national pride in its indigenous space program. Additionally, a number of commercial space start-ups are emerging in India.

India and the United States agreed to launch a cooperative expedition to the International Space Station in 2019 last month. The Indian Space Research Organization, which functions as NASA for India, is also creating a spaceship of its own to launch astronauts into orbit.

The Launch Vehicle Mark III rocket blasted off from the Indian space base on an island north of Chennai on Friday at 2:35 p.m. local time.

The rocket shot into the air to the cheers of crowds holding Indian flags and bright umbrellas. After the spacecraft detached from the rocket’s upper stage sixteen minutes later, there was a round of applause in the mission control center.

“It is indeed a moment of glory for India,” Jitendra Singh, the minister of state for India’s Ministry of Science and Technology, said in remarks following the launch, “and a moment of destiny for all of us over here at Sriharikota who are part of the history in making.”

The spacecraft will fire its engines repeatedly during the coming weeks to extend its orbit before approaching the moon. On August 23 or 24, a landing attempt is planned, set to take place at the landing spot in the moon’s south polar area just before sunrise.

It is challenging to make a safe landing on the moon, and numerous space initiatives have failed.

Hindi for “moon craft” is Chandrayaan. An orbiter named Chandrayaan-1 was launched in 2008, and its mission didn’t last long. On July 22, 2019, the Chandrayaan-2 mission was launched, and the spacecraft successfully inserted itself into lunar orbit.

On Sept. 6, 2019, a landing attempt seemed to be proceeding as anticipated until the lander’s trajectory veered off course at a height of about 1.3 miles above the surface.

Chandrayaan-3 : What ISRO Says?

According to S. Somanath, the head of the Indian space agency, the issues came about because one of the lander’s five engines had somewhat higher thrust than anticipated.

The program placed restrictions on how quickly the spacecraft could turn, despite its attempts to rectify. The craft was still some distance from its goal even as it was getting closer to the ground because of the increasing push.

Mr. Somanath added, “The craft is trying to reach there by increasing velocity to get there, but it was not having enough time to.”

Months later, an amateur internet detective utilized NASA spacecraft imagery to find the crash location, where the Pragyan rover and Vikram lander wreckage are still present today.

The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is still circling the moon, where scientists are using its instruments to do research. The Chandrayaan-3 project includes a less complicated propulsion module as a result, which will launch a lander and a rover from Earth’s orbit and subsequently enable it to enter orbit around the moon.

The lander’s design hasn’t changed much, but improvements have been made, such as stronger landing legs, more propellant, more solar cells to capture solar energy, and better sensors to gauge altitude.

Chandrayaan 3 Launch
Chandrayaan 3 Launch
Image: ISRO

Additionally, the software was modified to allow the spacecraft to turn more quickly if necessary and to increase the permitted landing zone.

The lander and the rover will utilize a variety of equipment to take temperature, seismic, and mineralogical data of the area if they manage to arrive on the moon.

When the sun sets on the solar-powered lander and rover two weeks after the landing, the mission will be finished. If a problem arises when Chandrayaan-3 is orbiting the moon, the landing may be postponed until the next sunrise in September, giving the spacecraft a full two weeks to operate on the surface.

While Chandrayaan-3’s moon data will be useful to scientists, India, like other nations, is also studying the solar system out of a sense of national pride.

Children in India were instructed to attend at school by 6:45 a.m., much before the regular start time, to watch the country’s Mangalyaan spacecraft enter orbit around Mars in 2014.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the Mars mission as “a shining symbol of what we are capable of as a nation” while he was present at the mission control facility in Bengaluru.

Mr. Modi was back at the space center for the unsuccessful Chandrayaan-2 landing attempt, although his speech afterwards was more muted. He told the employees and the scientists, “We came very near, but we will need to cover more terrain in the times to come.

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