In a major development, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, already anchored around the moon, established a two-way connection with the Chandrayaan-3 lander on Monday.

“‘Welcome, buddy!’ Chandrayaan-2 orbiter officially welcomes Chandrayaan-3 lunar module (lander module). Two-way communication between the two is established. MOX (Mission Operations Complex) now has more route to the lunar module,” ISRO said in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Chandrayaan-3 will land on the Moon on August 23, 2023 (around 18:04 UT).

The live broadcast will be broadcast on ISRO’s website, its YouTube channel, Facebook and public broadcaster DD National TV on 23 August 2023 at 17:27 IST.

Ahead of Chandrayaan-3’s long-awaited soft landing on the moon’s south pole, K Sivan, former director of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) who was in charge of the previous lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, said on Monday that the mission would achieve “tremendous success”.

“It’s a very anxious time…I’m sure this one will be a great success,” Sivan said in an interview with ANI.

“We have our own systems and we will have no problem achieving a soft landing. But it’s a complicated process,” he said in response to a question about whether there would be any repercussions after Russia’s failed Luna-25 mission. Russia’s moon mission failed after its Luna-25 spacecraft lost control and crashed into the moon on Sunday.

Corrective measures have been taken after examining data generated by the Chandrayaan-2 mission, he said. Asked whether these add-on systems were also indigenous, Sivan said, “Everything is indigenous.”

Earlier today, ISRO released images of regions on the far side of the Moon captured by the Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera (LHDAC). This camera helps to find a safe landing area (no boulders or deep ditches) during the descent.

Notably, the spacecraft’s Vikram lander module recently successfully separated from the propulsion module, followed by a critical deboost maneuver and descent to a slightly lower orbit. The lander for the Chandrayaan-3 mission is named after Vikram Sarabhai (1919-1971), who is widely considered the father of the Indian space program.

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.

It has been one month and seven days since ISRO launched the Chandrayaan-3 mission on July 14. The spacecraft was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The stated goals of India’s third lunar exploration mission, Chandrayaan-3, are safe soft landings, rover rovers on the lunar surface and on-site scientific experiments.

The approval cost for Chandrayaan-3 is Rs. 2.5 billion rupees (excluding launch vehicle costs).

The development phase of Chandrayaan-3 began in January 2020, with a planned launch sometime in 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unforeseen delays to the mission schedule.

Major scientific achievements of Chandrayaan-2 include the first global map of lunar sodium, enhanced understanding of crater size distribution, definitive detection of lunar surface water ice using IIRS instruments, and more.

The moon is a treasure trove of Earth’s past, and a successful Indian mission to the moon will help enhance life on Earth, while also allowing it to explore other parts of the solar system and beyond.

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