India's Chandrayaan-3 Successfully Launches, Aims to Make Lunar History
ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has successfully launched Chandrayaan-3, its third lunar exploration mission. The spacecraft lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, India, at 2:35 PM IST on Friday, July 14. The mission aims to demonstrate various capabilities, including reaching the orbit of the moon, making a soft landing on the lunar surface using a lander, and deploying a rover to study the moon's surface.
Sixteen minutes after lift-off, the propulsion module successfully separated from the rocket and will orbit the Earth for about 5-6 times in an elliptical cycle, moving towards the lunar orbit. The spacecraft will undertake further orbit-raising maneuvers in the coming days.
Several prominent figures, including Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Sachin Tendulkar, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, ISRO chairman, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have congratulated ISRO on the successful launch. The mission is seen as a significant achievement for India and a step toward joining the elite group of countries capable of landing spacecraft on the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-3's development phase began in January 2020, with plans to launch in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays. The mission is expected to achieve a soft landing on the lunar surface by late August 2023.