The Vikram lander of the Indian Chandrayaan-3 mission landed gently in one of the craters in the south polar region of the Moon after 2:30 p.m. Spanish time, and after a descent maneuver that lasted about 17 minutes. , thus marking a historic milestone in the achievements of ISRO, India’s space agency. This country has become the fourth to manage to take an exploration vehicle to the lunar surface, after the Soviet Union, the United States and China, and the first to do so in a polar area. “India is on the Moon,” Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, president of ISRO, celebrated excitedly, a few minutes after landing.
The descent maneuver has been broadcast live through ISRO’s own channels and has been followed in India by millions of people – plus 7.9 million on YouTube alone – for whom the mission has become a feat. national.
The loss last Sunday of the Russian Luna-25 probe, which pursued the same objective, showed that it was not an easy mission. Therefore, the different critical approach and orbital operations have been followed in India with great expectation.
The spacecraft was launched on the LVM3-M4 rocket on July 14. On the 31st, the translunar injection maneuver was performed. After five days of travel, Chandrayaan-3 began the approach maneuvers and successfully completed orbital insertion on August 6, “a crucial milestone,” according to ISRO, which had already been achieved in previous missions of the Chandrayaan 1 and 2. Since then, “a series of maneuvers have been carried out to gradually reduce the orbit of Chandrayaan-3 and place it above the lunar poles.” Still in orbit, the Vikram lander separated from the booster module last Thursday and began its descent the next day.
“It is the victory cry of the new India”
Throughout this process, the state of the ship has been “normal.” Throughout the mission, it is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antenna at Byalalu, near Bengaluru, supported by the ESA and JPL deep space antenna.
The landing of the Vikram module occurred without problems after 2:30 p.m. Each phase of the final descent sequence was celebrated with applause in the control center, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed the entire process live. As planned, the ship has lost altitude quickly – it has gone from 21,000 meters to 1,000 in just 10 minutes – until it is located at about 100 meters, where it has stabilized before descending gently until it hits the ground, at which point that joy has overflowed into the control center. After some first words from the president of ISRO, Narendra Modi addressed the entire team to thank them and congratulate them on his achievement. “This is the victory cry of the new India,” he proclaimed. “The sky is not the limit,” he added.