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Chandrayaan 3’s lander successfully separated from spacecraft

lander ‘Vikram’ successfully separated

Chandrayaan-3’s lander ‘Vikram’ successfully separated from the rest of the spacecraft, putting the mission on track for an August 23 lunar landing.

  • This comes after the spacecraft successfully underwent its fifth and final lunar-bound orbit maneuver, positioning it 163 km away from the Moon.

The Broader Context

Russia’s Luna 25 has already reached the lunar orbit, despite being launched on August 10– almost a month after the launch of Chandrayaan-3 on July 14. lander ‘Vikram’ successfully separated

  • Luna-25 is set to attempt a soft landing near the Moon’s south pole by August 22, making it a close race between the two nations.

Why Russia is ahead to Indiato reach the moon?

Luna-25 followed a more direct trajectory towards the moon, thanks to its lighter payload and more fuel storage. The lift-off mass for Luna-25 is just 1,750 kg, compared to the 3,900 kg of Chandrayaan-3. lander ‘Vikram’ successfully separated

  • This reduced mass allows Luna 25 to accelerate more effectively. Moreover, Luna 25’s surplus fuel storage eliminates fuel efficiency concerns, enabling it to undertake a more direct route to the Moon. 
  • In contrast, Chandrayaan-3’s fuel-carrying capacity constraints required a more circuitous route to the Moon.
  • Consequently, ISRO used a ‘gravitational slingshot’ as a workaround.
  • Firing engines at specific points to make the spacecraft spiral outwards and eventually set a course towards the moon. 
Chandrayaan 3's lander ‘Vikram' successfully separated
Image credits: The Indian Express

Why the south pole is choosen as landing station?

The Moon’s south pole has remained untouched due to its tough landscape, making landing and navigation hard. Also, the region’s extreme weather could pose a challenge to electronic instruments. lander ‘Vikram’ successfully separated Yet, scientists are notably curious by the possibility of water ice, a crucial resource for future missions, and its suitability for a lunar outpost due to its prolonged exposure to sunlight, ensuring ample solar energy.

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