Chandrayaan-3: Historic moment for India as spacecraft makes a safe Moon landing
Days after a Russian lunar mission, the first to launch in decades, crashed on the surface of the Moon, Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) saw a successful landing on Wednesday, 23 August.
Chandrayaan-3 is a modified version of Chandrayaan-2. The previous spacecraft did not complete the mission as a last-minute glitch in the landing guidance software led to its crash after entering lunar orbit in 2019.
The launch of Chandrayaan-3 took place on 14 July, 2023 from a launchpad in Sriharikota in southern India. It has made history by becoming the first spacecraft to successfully land on the Moon’s south pole.
The craft’s lander will now deploy a rover named Pragyaan, that will spend two weeks gathering rock samples, images, and data. The Moon’s south pole was found to have water ice in its craters during previous missions, which will also be analysed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed ISRO and the wider world, from the BRICS summit in South Africa.
He said: “This is the heartbeat of 1.4 billion people. This is the new India, the new beginning, the new thinking of the new efforts.
“This is a feature of the shine of India – we made a promise and we made it true on the surface of the moon.”
“Today we are in space, we have proved to the world… [and] my mind and heart is on the Chandrayaan mission,” he says.
“This is a historic moment, and for every Indian, we are all very proud… I want to congratulate all 1.4 billion citizens of our country.
“This success belongs to all of humanity and it will help moon missions by other countries in the future,” he concluded.