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What is Chandrayaan? Complete History of ISRO’s Mission Chandrayaan; Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3

Chandrayaan, a series of Indian lunar space explorers, is named after the Sanskrit word "moon vehicle". Chandrayaan 1 was the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO) first lunar space mission. It discovered water on the Moon. It was established in lunar orbit to study the Moon's surface in infrared, visible, and X-ray light and reflect radiation to search for different elements, minerals, water, and ice. It functioned from 2008 to 2009. 2019 saw the launch of Chandrayaan-2, which was intended to be ISRO's first lunar lander. The Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019 was successful in deploying an orbiter, but it lost communication with its lander and crash-landed close to the area where Chandrayaan-3 would try to soft landing this time.


ISRO Successfully launched Chandrayaan-3 from Satish Dhawan Space Center (Source: Outlook)


Chandrayaan-1 was the first Indian lunar probe under the Chandrayaan program. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched it in October 2008, and it was in use until August 2009. A lunar orbiter and an impactor were part of the mission. On October 22, 2008, at 00:52 UTC, India launched the spacecraft from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using a PSLV-XL rocket. India's space program received a big boost from the expedition as it investigated and created its lunar exploration equipment. On November 8, 2008, the vehicle was launched into lunar orbit.


With this mission, ISRO became the fifth national space agency to reach the lunar surface. Other countries whose national space agencies have already done so include the former Soviet Union in 1959, the United States in 1962, Japan in 1993, and ESA member states in 2006. Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced in his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2003, that the Chandrayaan-1 project is on track. The mission gave a significant boost to the Indian space program. The estimated cost of the project was ₹386 crore (US$48 million). The goal was to study the lunar surface over two years to create a comprehensive map of the surface's chemical composition and three-dimensional topography. The Polar Regions are of particular interest as they may contain water ice. Among his numerous achievements was the discovery of the widespread presence of water molecules in the lunar soil.


Some unknown facts about Chandrayaan-1 (Source: Quora)


After Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2 was the second lunar exploration project started by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). It was made up of an Indian-developed lander, an orbiter for the moon, and the Pragyan rover. The prime scientific goal was to map and examine the differences in the lunar surface's composition as well as the presence and distribution of water on the moon. On July 22, 2019, the spacecraft was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre's second launch pad. On August 20, 2019, the spacecraft entered the Moon's orbit and started orbital positioning maneuvers in preparation for the landing of the Vikram lander. It was planned for the lander and rover to soft landing in the south polar region of the Moon's near side.


Sriharikota: India’s second Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 lifts off onboard GSLV Mk III-M1 launch vehicle from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, Monday, July 22, 2019 (Source: Hindustan Times)

On September 6, 2019, the lander was attempting to land when it lost control and crashed after deviating from its intended path. A failure analysis report provided to ISRO states that a software error was to blame for the disaster. With Chandrayaan-3, ISRO is making another attempt at a landing. 

Rover Pragyan mounted on the ramp of Vikram lander. (Source: Wikipedia)



The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)'s third lunar exploration project is called Chandrayaan-3. It is similar to Chandrayaan-2 in that it consists of a lander and the Pragyan rover, but it lacks an orbiter. Its propulsion system functions like a satellite relaying communications. Up until the spacecraft is in a 100 km lunar orbit, the lander and rover configuration is carried by the propulsion module. Phase one of Chandrayaan-3's mission, successfully adding a 100 km circular polar orbit, was carried out on July 14, 2023, at 2:35 IST. On August 23, 2023, the lander and rover are anticipated to touch down close to the lunar South Pole.

India's Chandrayaan-3 aims for a safe landing with an innovative 'Failure-Based Design' approach (Source: India Today)

For the Chandrayaan-3 mission, ISRO has recognized three key objectives which include:

1.      To achieve a perfect, safe, and soft lunar surface touchdown for a lander.

2.      To observe and demonstrate the rover's lunar loitering abilities

3.      On-site scientific observation enables studies on the soil, water, and other natural and chemical elements that are present on the lunar surface to comprehend and practice the lunar composition. The development and testing of novel technology needed for voyages between two planets is referred to as interplanetary.


Nearing the launch of Chandrayaan-3 Mission (Source: Civilsdaily)

Source References

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