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Chandrayaan-3: Why India could do what the more developed countries couldnt

India, a nation known for its rich history, diverse culture, and rapid technological advancements, has made significant strides in the field of space exploration. In recent years, India’s space agency, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), has captured the world’s attention with its ambitious space missions, and the latest Chandrayaan-3 mission is no exception.

As we witness the beautiful moon landing of Chandrayaan-3, let’s also embark on a nostalgic journey through India’s earlier space missions, marvel at its achievements, and explore what sets Chandrayaan-3 apart.

Indian Space Missions: A Historical Perspective

India’s journey into the world of space exploration can be traced back to ancient times when rockets, known as ‘Mysorean rockets,’ were used in warfare by the Kingdom of Mysore in the 18th century. These early rockets served as the foundation for India’s modern rocketry endeavors.

However, the formal establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1969 marked the beginning of India’s modern space program. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, often hailed as the father of India’s space program, envisioned a space agency that would harness space technology for the betterment of society.

  • India’s journey in space exploration began with the launch of Aryabhata, its first satellite, on April 19, 1975. This historic moment marked the beginning of India’s ascent into space.
  • Subsequently, the Rohini Satellite Series and the launch of the first indigenous satellite, Rohini Satellite RS-1, showcased India’s growing prowess.
  • However, it was the Chandrayaan 1 mission in 2008 that truly put India on the global space map. Chandrayaan 1 became the first Indian mission to reach the moon, and it made significant discoveries, including the presence of water molecules on the lunar surface.
  • In 2013, the Mars Orbiter Mission, affectionately known as “Mangalyaan,” captured the world’s attention as India became the first country to successfully reach Mars on its maiden attempt.


ISRO Moon Landing: What Sets Chandrayaan-3 Apart

One significant difference with this ISRO space mission is its focus. While Chandrayaan 1 and 2 were primarily scientific missions, Chandrayaan 3 aims to demonstrate India’s capabilities for lunar surface landings. This distinction showcases India’s evolving space capabilities and its aspiration to play a more significant role in lunar exploration.

In contrast, Luna 25 marks Russia’s return to lunar exploration after a hiatus of over four decades. This mission is part of the Luna-Glob program and aims to study the moon’s south pole region. Russia’s experience and historical significance in lunar exploration make Luna 25 a mission of great interest to the global space community.

Cost Effectiveness of Indian Space Mission

What sets India apart in the realm of space exploration is its ability to achieve remarkable milestones on a budget significantly smaller than some of the world’s leading space agencies. India’s cost-effective approach involves a blend of frugality, innovation, and indigenous technology development.

By developing its launch vehicles, such as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), India has significantly reduced launch costs. Additionally, ISRO’s focus on building its spacecraft and instruments in-house has further contributed to cost savings.

Space Missions: Incremental Progress and Learning

India’s lunar missions reflect a philosophy of incremental progress. Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2, and now Chandrayaan-3 showcase a learning curve that allows ISRO to continuously refine its technology and operations. Failures are seen as valuable opportunities for growth rather than setbacks.

ISRO and International Collaborations

India has also actively sought international collaborations, demonstrating a cooperative spirit in space exploration. Partnerships with countries like Russia, France, and the United States have further expanded India’s capabilities and strengthened its position in the global space community.

Specifications of the Mission

Chandrayaan-3 has been one of the most peculiar space missions of ISRO. It had the following structural units. Their uses are also mentioned next to it.┬áThe Langmuir Probe or LP in Chandrayaan-3 measures the near surface plasma (ions and electrons) density and its changes with time. This helps scientists to understand the biochemistry of substances on the moon. The next important part of the mission is Chandra’s Surface Thermo physical experiment or ChaSTE. This carries out the measurements of thermal properties of lunar surface near the polar region. The instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity measures seismicity around the landing site and delineating the structure of the lunar crust and mantle.

The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are:

  1. To demonstrate Safe and Soft Landing on Lunar Surface
  2. To demonstrate Rover roving on the moon and
  3. To conduct in-situ scientific experiments.

To achieve the mission objectives, several advanced technologies are present in Lander such as,

  1. Altimeters: Laser & RF based Altimeters
  2. Velocimeters: Laser Doppler Velocimeter & Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera
  3. Inertial Measurement: Laser Gyro based Inertial referencing and Accelerometer package
  4. Propulsion System: 800N Throttleable Liquid Engines, 58N attitude thrusters & Throttleable Engine Control Electronics
  5. Navigation, Guidance & Control (NGC): Powered Descent Trajectory design and associate software elements
  6. Hazard Detection and Avoidance: Lander Hazard Detection & Avoidance Camera and Processing Algorithm

In conclusion, the fascinating journey from ancient rocketry to the modern Chandrayaan missions, India’s space program has defied budget constraints to make significant contributions to lunar exploration. While the United States has a rich history of lunar missions, India’s approach is marked by cost-effective innovations, incremental progress, and international collaborations.

Chandrayaan-3, like its predecessors, is driven by scientific curiosity. It aims to explore the lunar surface, study its geology, and gain a deeper understanding of the moon’s composition. This mission is vital not only for India but also for global lunar research efforts. As Chandrayaan 3’s instruments and experiments are meticulously designed, they promise to provide valuable data that will contribute to our knowledge of the moon’s history and evolution.

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