India’s Successful STEPS in Space: Chandrayaan-3’s Monumental Impact!

Chandrayaan-3's successful mission to the moon reshapes India's space exploration narrative, inspiring generations and establishing India as a pioneering force in space.

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India's Successful STEPS in Space: Chandrayaan-3's Monumental Impact!
  • ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 Mission achieved a monumental feat.
  • This achievement has shattered the perception of India lagging behind in space exploration
  • India's accomplishment captured global attention and admiration

1st September 2023, Mumbai: On August 30, 2023, a defining moment in India’s history of space exploration unfolded as ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) shared a remarkable update about the Chandrayaan-3 Mission. They revealed an image of the Vikram lander on the moon’s surface, captured by the navigation camera on the Pragyan rover. This event has forever changed the way Indians perceive the moon, establishing a unique connection between the nation and Earth’s celestial companion.

ISRO’s Pragyan rover diligently traversing Moon’s surface

Imagine stepping outside on a clear night, gazing at the moon, and picturing ISRO’s Pragyan rover diligently traversing its surface, leaving behind tracks of human ingenuity. Can there be a more profound and emotionally resonant moment in India’s space exploration journey? It is, without a doubt, India’s profound engagement with the cosmos. If American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon, were alive today, he might aptly summarize this achievement as: “That’s one small step for ISRO, one giant leap for India.”

Chandrayaan-3 Mission

For years, India has been subjected to criticisms of lagging behind in various sectors, including space science. Critics often quipped that India follows the trailblazers, achieving milestones well after developed nations. However, with the Chandrayaan-3 Mission, India has not only set a benchmark but also compelled the world to take notice. The proclamation that “India is the first country to land a spacecraft on the moon’s South Pole” firmly establishes India’s place as a pioneer, forever owning the “first” distinction. Certainly, India has a long way to go in many areas to reach parity with developed nations. ISRO may trail behind NASA in certain aspects, and technological advancements in countries like the United States surpass India’s current capabilities. Nonetheless, India is narrowing the gap and displaying a remarkable trajectory of progress.

Vikram spacecraft at the “Shiv Shakti Point.”

On August 23, 2023, during the Chandrayaan-3 Mission, as the Vikram spacecraft executed its controlled lunar landing, anxiety loomed at the ISRO Telemetry Tracking & Command Network. Just days prior, on August 19, 2023, Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft aimed to outdo Chandrayaan-3 by landing on the moon’s South Pole, ultimately ending in a crash. For many ISRO scientists, the memory of Chandrayaan-2’s crash landing was still fresh. Despite the nail-biting moments involving “horizontal velocity,” “vertical velocity,” and “altitude” calculations of the lander module (LM) and rover, ISRO defied the odds, successfully landing the Vikram spacecraft at the “Shiv Shakti Point.”

ISRO scientists like K. Sivan and S. Somnath

The news of Chandrayaan-3’s triumph was celebrated with fervor in India and captivated audiences worldwide. This achievement has undoubtedly ignited the curiosity of countless young Indian students, inspiring them to pursue careers in space science. ISRO scientists like K. Sivan and S. Somnath have become new icons, exemplifying India’s scientific prowess. Two critical objectives of the mission—to demonstrate a safe and gentle landing on the lunar surface and to showcase rover mobility on the moon—have been achieved. The third objective, conducting in-situ scientific experiments, is underway. Using instruments like the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) on the Pragyan rover, the presence of various elements in the moon’s soil and rocks, including oxygen, sulfur, aluminum, silicon, calcium, chromium, manganese, titanium, and iron, has been detected.

“National Space Day” in India.

Although the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover were designed to operate for only one lunar day (approximately 14 Earth days), the success of the Chandrayaan-3 Mission has been immortalized as “National Space Day” in India. Indians now share a special bond with the moon, and it will never be viewed the same way again. Anand Mahindra aptly envisions a future where Indian astronauts will take selfies next to the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover. With the upcoming Gaganyaan mission, ISRO aims to send India’s first humans into space, setting the stage for future lunar and Martian missions.

In the world of space exploration, India has announced its presence with authority. ISRO’s ambitious plans include establishing India’s own space station, an endeavor that holds immense promise. Meanwhile, on September 2, 2023, India’s Aditya-L1 mission will launch, embarking on a five-year journey to study the sun. These endeavors signify that India has arrived on the global stage of space exploration, ready to make its mark and inspire generations to come.

By Yashika Desai

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