Before going into its lunar night hibernation, Vikram lander of India’s ground-breaking Chandrayaan-3 moon mission notched up another achievement: it perfectly soft-landed on the lunar surface for the second time, as part of a “hop experiment” carried out by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The space agency indicated that the perfection of the landing technique meant that India might be able to send people to the moon.
In a post on the social network X this morning, ISRO said: “Chandrayaan-3 Mission: [India’s] Vikram soft-landed on [the moon], again!
“Vikram Lander exceeded its mission objectives. It successfully underwent a hop experiment.
“On command, it fired the engines, elevated itself by about 40 cm as expected and landed safely at a distance of 30-40 cm away.
“Importance?: This ‘kick-start’ enthuses future sample return and human missions!
“All systems performed nominally and are healthy. Deployed Ramp, ChaSTE and ILSA were folded back and redeployed successfully after the experiment.”
Giving an update on Vikram lander, following yesterday’s update on Pragyan rover being safely parked to sleep through the two-week freezing lunar night, ISRO said: “Vikram Lander is set into sleep mode around 08:00 Hrs. IST today.”