- Indian space program's Chandrayaan-3 launches without a hitch, aiming for an ambitious lunar south pole landing.
- The mission seeks to redeem the 2019 mishap, while using existing Chandrayaan-2 orbiter data for further research.
- A successful landing would usher India into an exclusive club of nations to have successfully landed on the moon.
Indian space program scientists were jubilant on Friday as a gargantuan rocket effortlessly broke through the clouds, carrying the unmanned Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on an audacious mission to the moon's darker, less-traversed side. The launch, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, southern India, went off without a glitch, with the LVM3-M4 heavy-lift rocket flawlessly delivering its lunar rover-and-lander-laden payload into orbit.
Described as a 'masterclass in rocket launches,' the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) scientists were all smiles, appreciating the seamless performance. Chandrayaan-3, India's third lunar expedition, plans to softly touch down near the relatively uncharted south pole of the moon in the upcoming months.
The ongoing expedition is a shot at redemption following India's previous unsuccessful lunar landing attempt in 2019. Chandrayaan-2's lander ended in a heartrending crash, but its orbiter continues to relay valuable lunar atmospheric data. The Chandrayaan-3 mission is expected to capitalize on this existing knowledge.
The journey to our nearest celestial body should span around 40 days, with an anticipated landing date of August 23. Success would mean India enters a prestigious triad of lunar-landing nations currently only comprising the United States, Russia, and China. On successful touchdown, the rover will embark on a fortnight-long lunar day to probe the moon's composition and collect scientific data.
A triumphant Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Chandrayaan-3 scripts a new chapter in India's space odyssey, symbolizing the dreams and ambitions of every Indian. This achievement is a testament to our scientists' relentless dedication."
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