The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully performed the final orbit reduction maneuver of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on Wednesday, a week ahead of the planned landing on the moon. “Today’s successful launch needs to be completed in a short period of time, and Chandrayaan-3 has been placed into an orbit of 153 kilometers x 163 kilometers as expected. So far, the lunar landing maneuver has been completed.” The Indian Space Research Organization said today.

The spacecraft, which launched on July 14 this year from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, is expected to touch down in the lunar south pole region on August 23.

A GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift vehicle was used to launch the spacecraft, which entered lunar orbit on Aug. 5, after which a series of orbital maneuvers lowered the spacecraft closer to the lunar surface.

Today’s fifth and final de-orbit exercise took place at ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore.

ISRO said that with the lunar landing exercises concluded, the focus of the Chandrayaan-3 mission turned to preparations for the next phase, as the propulsion module and lander module are getting ready for their “respective journeys”.

Separation of the lander module from the propulsion module is scheduled for August 17.

Federal Minister Jitendra Singh posted on X, “One step closer to the moon! Today’s successful launch needs to be completed in a very short period of time. Chandrayaan-3 has entered an orbit of 153 kilometers x 163 kilometers as expected. The monthly operation has been completed.”

ISRO is attempting a successful soft landing on the moon, which would make India the fourth country in the world to achieve the feat, joining the US, Russia and China.

India’s third mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-3, marked the country’s second attempt at a gentle landing. It’s a follow-up to the failed Chandrayaan-2 moon mission in 2019. It will demonstrate India’s full capabilities to safely land and roam the Moon.

Components of Chandrayaan-3 include several electronic and mechanical subsystems designed to ensure a smooth and safe landing, including guidance and control systems, propulsion systems and navigation sensors. There are also systems for releasing the rover, antennas for two-way communication, and other onboard electronics.

Chandrayaan-3’s stated goals include safe soft landings, rover rovers and on-site scientific research.

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