India's Chandrayaan-3 Mission: Advancing Lunar Exploration with Upgraded 'Bahubali' Rocket and Robust Policy

Policy Puzzles: India gears up for Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, building on the lessons learned from the previous endeavor. The upgraded 'Bahubali' rocket, LM-3, stands tall on the launchpad, ready to propel India towards a soft landing on the moon

The Processor
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In a bid to achieve a successful soft landing on the moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for the launch of Chandrayaan-3, India's third mission to the lunar surface. After carefully analyzing failure scenarios and making necessary adjustments, ISRO aims to address past challenges and further India's celestial exploration efforts. Scheduled for Friday, July 14, at 2.35 pm, this mission holds immense significance as it endeavors to join the elite group of nations that have successfully achieved a soft landing on the moon.

Upgraded 'Bahubali' Rocket Awaits Liftoff

The upgraded 'Bahubali' rocket, officially named Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LM-3), stands tall on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Weighing a massive 642 tons, the LM-3 has a remarkable success rate and is poised to propel Chandrayaan-3 towards the moon. This mission marks a crucial step in mastering the art of soft landing on celestial bodies, and the LM-3 is ready to embark on this historic journey.

Crucial Objectives of Chandrayaan-3

Chandrayaan-3, weighing 3921 kilograms, carries seven scientific instruments and aims to achieve a soft landing near the moon's south pole. If successful, India will become the fourth country, following Russia, the United States, and China, to achieve this milestone. The mission also includes the analysis of lunar soil and the exploration of the moon's surface, including the study of moonquakes. Chandrayaan-3 will play a vital role in expanding our knowledge and understanding of Earth's celestial companion.

Learning from Past Missions

The journey towards Chandrayaan-3 has been a learning process for ISRO. Following the partial success of Chandrayaan-1 in 2008, where the discovery of water molecules on the moon captivated the world, India embarked on the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019. While the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter continues to successfully orbit the moon, the Vikram lander, carrying the Pragyaan rover, unfortunately, crash-landed minutes before reaching its intended landing site. The experience gained from these missions has enabled ISRO to identify areas for improvement and make necessary modifications for Chandrayaan-3.

To enhance the chances of success, ISRO has introduced several changes for Chandrayaan-3. One crucial modification is the alteration in the first orbit into which the spacecraft will be injected. Additionally, extensive testing and simulations have been conducted to ensure a more robust and reliable landing. Engineers and scientists have meticulously addressed known risks and challenges, striving to achieve a safe and successful soft landing.

International Collaboration and Artemis Accords

India's achievements in lunar exploration have garnered global recognition and paved the way for international collaboration. India recently signed the Artemis Accords, a set of non-binding regulations spearheaded by NASA, aimed at fostering cooperative lunar exploration. The Artemis Program, initiated by NASA in 2018, seeks to return humans to the moon. This collaboration signifies India's commitment to furthering lunar and Martian exploration alongside the United States and other nations.

The upcoming launch of Chandrayaan-3 has generated excitement and anticipation among scientists, researchers, and space enthusiasts worldwide. The mission holds the potential for groundbreaking discoveries and the opportunity for India to showcase its capabilities on the global stage. With India's flag imprinted on both the Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover, there is a possibility of capturing India's first-ever selfies from the lunar surface.

Professor Carle Pieters, the principal scientist credited with discovering water molecules on the moon's surface during Chandrayaan-1. He is quoted by Times of India:  "These are exciting times. The growing international science and exploration community recognizes the moon as our constant companion in this part of the solar system and always will be. I hope any surprises will be good ones."

With ISRO's meticulous preparations and advancements in space exploration, India is poised to embark on a remarkable lunar journey with Chandrayaan-3. The successful landing on the moon's surface would signify another significant milestone in India's space exploration endeavors and contribute to humanity's expanding knowledge of the cosmos.