Chandrayaan-3 ready to touch lunar surface, lander separated from propulsion module

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has achieved a notable milestone in its Chandrayaan-3 mission by successfully detaching the spacecraft's propulsion module from the lander.

All eyes are on the soft-landing of India's lunar mission. Photo courtesy: ISRO

This accomplishment marks the successful completion of the lunar-bound maneuvers.

The propulsion module separated from the lander on August 17, and the propulsion module is now on its trajectory around the moon.

The propulsion module's role in the Chandrayaan-3 mission is vital. It serves as a communication relay satellite, facilitating the transport of the lander and rover configuration until the spacecraft reaches a lunar orbit of 100 km.

This achievement underscores ISRO's progress in its efforts to explore and study the moon.

With the successful separation of the lander, named Vikram, from the propulsion module, it is now positioned in its designated orbit and is engaged in carrying out its specific tasks as part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

This separation allows Vikram to execute its functions independently and contribute to the overall objectives of the mission.

The propulsion module has a critical role in operating the Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload, which holds significant importance in the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

The SHAPE payload's primary objective is to study Earth's spectropolarimeter signatures in the near-infrared wavelength range.

These signatures are crucial for potential observations of life on exoplanets located outside our solar system.

By analyzing Earth's atmosphere spectrally, SHAPE will detect variations in polarization caused by cloud formations on our planet.

This valuable data will be instrumental in building a repository of signatures that could be found on exoplanets with the potential to support life.

This research will greatly contribute to our comprehension of habitability beyond Earth.

The propulsion module, which continues to travel in its current lunar orbit, is expected to perform this task for an extended period, possibly spanning months or even years.

This extended period will provide ample time for the SHAPE payload to accumulate enough data, further enriching our understanding of Earth's atmosphere and potentially facilitating the identification of exoplanets capable of sustaining life.

Launched on July 14, 2023, the Chandrayaan-3 mission aims to achieve a secure and gentle landing on the lunar surface, allowing rover mobility, and executing on-site scientific experiments.

Both the lander and the rover have been outfitted with scientific instruments designed for these experiments on the lunar terrain.

The successful separation of the propulsion module stands as a momentous advancement towards attaining these ambitious goals.

As the global audience observes, India's Chandrayaan-3 mission is making significant progress in the realm of space exploration.

The propulsion module's integral role in this venture underlines its importance in propelling India's aspirations for lunar exploration and scientific discovery.