In a major milestone, ISRO announced on Thursday that the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft’s lander module has successfully separated from the propulsion module that propels it in space these days.

The lander module, consisting of a lander (Vikram) and a rover (Pragyan), is now ready to descend to an orbit closer to the lunar surface. A soft landing on the lunar south pole is scheduled for August 23.

“Thanks for the ride, man! Says the Lander Module (LM). The LM has successfully separated from the Propulsion Module (PM). The LM is scheduled to decompress tomorrow around 1600 and then descend to a slightly lower orbit., IST”, ISRO said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Following Thursday’s separation, the lander is expected to undergo a “deceleration” (a deceleration process) that will place it in orbit 30 kilometers from perilunar (the point of orbit closest to the moon) and Apollon (the point farthest from the moon). is 30 km. According to ISRO sources, it will be 100 kilometers from the moon and from there a soft landing will be attempted in the south polar region of the moon.

Meanwhile, the country’s space agency says the propulsion module will continue to operate in its current orbit for several months/years.

“The SHAPE (Spectral Polarimetric Measurement of Habitable Planet Earth) payload (propulsion module) on board will conduct spectroscopic studies of Earth’s atmosphere and measure polarization changes in clouds on Earth to accumulate signatures of exoplanets that meet our habitable conditions !” said ISRO, adding that the payload was designed by the UR Rao Satellite Center in Bengaluru.

After Chandrayaan-3 launched on July 14, it entered lunar orbit on Aug. 5, and the satellite underwent orbit reduction maneuvers on Aug. 6, 9, 14 and 16 before separating the two satellites today. modules. Preparations for landing on 23 August.

ISRO Chairman Somanath said a few days ago that the most critical part of landing is the process of getting the speed of the lander from an altitude of 30 kilometers to the final landing, and the ability to transfer the spacecraft from a horizontal direction to a vertical direction is the “knack” we have to work on. play here”.

“The speed at the beginning of the landing process was almost 1.68 kilometers per second, but this speed was horizontal to the surface of the moon. Chandrayaan-3 was tilted almost 90 degrees here, and it had to become vertical. So, this whole process turned from horizontal to The vertical process is a very interesting mathematical calculation. We did a lot of simulations. It was here that we had problems last time (Chandrayaan-2), ” explained Somanath.

Previously, in the three weeks since its launch on July 14, ISRO had lifted the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into an orbit farther and farther away from Earth.

Then, on Aug. 1, through a crucial maneuver — a slingshot maneuver — the spacecraft successfully flew from Earth orbit to the Moon. Following this cross-moon injection, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft detached from Earth orbit and began following a path that would bring it near the Moon.

“It’s a great moment, it’s going to mean how the lander is going to perform, how the lander is going to be validated and tested and getting closer and closer to the moon … and then it’s going to get the commands it needs so that It took over the cue “August 23, all the way to the target site and landed safely,” Chandryaan-1 project director M Annadurai told PTI.

“This is just the beginning and all further milestones have to be looked at very carefully. We’ve crossed the major milestones from the launch vehicle to the propulsion system (separation). Now the race really starts. These are the final stages we’re talking about. I think This is a great moment. The whole world is waiting to see what Vikram will do, what Pragyan will do… I am also eagerly waiting,” added Annadurai.

Chandrayaan-3 is the follow-up mission to Chandrayaan-2, designed to demonstrate the end-to-end capability of safely landing and roaming on the lunar surface.

The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are to demonstrate a safe soft landing on the lunar surface, demonstrate a lunar rover, and conduct in situ scientific experiments.

The lander is capable of a soft landing at a designated lunar site and deploys the rover to conduct in situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface as it moves.

Landers and rovers have science payloads to conduct experiments on the lunar surface.


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