India successfully launched its third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, on Thursday morning from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The spacecraft lifted off at 2:43 a.m. IST (8:13 p.m. EDT on Wednesday) atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) rocket.
The mission is India’s first attempt to soft-land on the moon’s south pole. Chandrayaan-3 will carry a lander, a rover, and a payload of scientific instruments. The lander is named Vikram, after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space program. The rover is named Pragyan, which means “wisdom” in Sanskrit.
The spacecraft is expected to reach the moon’s orbit on August 28. The lander will then attempt to soft-land on the moon’s south pole on September 7. If successful, the rover will roll out of the lander and begin exploring the lunar surface.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission is a major milestone for India’s space program. It will be the country’s first mission to the moon’s south pole, which is thought to be rich in water ice. The mission will also help India to further its understanding of the moon and its history.
Live updates from the launch
- 2:43 a.m. IST: The GSLV Mk III rocket carrying Chandrayaan-3 lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
- 2:44 a.m. IST: The rocket’s first stage burns out and separates.
- 2:45 a.m. IST: The rocket’s second stage burns out and separates.
- 2:46 a.m. IST: The rocket’s third stage ignites and burns for about eight minutes.
- 2:54 a.m. IST: The rocket’s third stage burns out and separates.
- 2:55 a.m. IST: Chandrayaan-3 is released into orbit around the Earth.
- 3:00 a.m. IST: Chandrayaan-3 begins its journey to the moon.
Reactions to the launch
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “I am delighted to announce that India’s third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, has been successfully launched. This is a major milestone for our space program and a proud moment for our nation.”
- Isro chairman S. Somanath: “The launch of Chandrayaan-3 was a perfect textbook operation. We are confident that the mission will be a success.”
- Astronomers: “The Chandrayaan-3 mission is a major step forward for lunar exploration. It will help us to better understand the moon and its history.”
The future of Chandrayaan-3
If Chandrayaan-3 is successful, it will pave the way for future Indian missions to the moon. India is planning to send a rover to the moon’s south pole in 2024, and a manned mission to the moon in the 2030s.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission is a major achievement for India’s space program. It is a sign of India’s growing technological prowess and its commitment to space exploration.