Indian space agency ISRO sees India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission aimed at landing a rover and lander on the Moon this month as an essential step toward human spaceflight, according to its chief. Additionally, this adds momentum towards sending equipment onto lunar surfaces worldwide – particularly its south pole believed to contain water ice that could sustain human presence there but unfortunately three out of the last four attempts have failed so far.
Chandrayaan-3 could make history when successful; becoming only the fourth Asian nation after United States, former Soviet Union and China to land successfully on the Moon.
India can take great pride in the success of its homegrown space program, which has since evolved into an expanding network of private start-ups. International partners also expressed confidence in India’s ability to undertake crewed space travel in future missions.
Chandrayaan-3 will use the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), with launch scheduled for July 14 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Once in Earth parking orbit, mission team can use its stability to verify all components are operating as intended before beginning its deep space journey. Once on lunar transfer trajectory, landing and rover missions will orbit around their respective lunar bodies close to those that orbit Earth itself.
At this stage, the lander will separate from its propulsion module and alter its orbit so as to come closer to the Moon. Once close enough, it will initiate soft landing procedures. After it touches down on its target site, rover will gather photographs of it for analysis.
Chandrayaan-3 features seven scientific payloads with varied purposes. RAMBHA will measure changes to lunar ionosphere density over time. The Lunar Seismic Activity Sensor can detect seismic activities on the Moon’s surface. The Large Area Soft X-Ray Spectometer will use Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram Lander/Rover as a basis to investigate water at both poles of the Moon, further strengthening evidence found by Chandrayaan-2 that there exists water at one pole (South Pole). The Lunar Exploration Rover will conduct various experiments as well as carrying a symbolic Indian Flag as part of its commitment to interplanetary exploration. India will use this mission to search for signs of life on the Moon as well as study its composition and temperature to help provide clues as to its potential habitability. Furthermore, new technologies including thermal protection systems will be tested out as preparation for eventual human flights to Mars or beyond – helping India compete with NASA and Russia in developing technologies necessary for human space travel.