Chandrayaan – 3: India’s Lunar Exploration Mission

lunar launcher scaled

Chandrayaan-3 is a future mission planned by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as a follow-on to the successful Chandrayaan-2 mission. It aims to demonstrate the capability of safe landing and roving on the lunar surface, further advancing India’s space exploration program.

Mission Objectives

The objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are as follows:

  1. To demonstrate safe and soft landing on the lunar surface.
  2. To demonstrate rover roving on the moon.
  3. To conduct in-situ scientific experiments.

Mission Configuration

Chandrayaan-3 will consist of a Lander and Rover configuration, which will be launched by the LVM3 (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR in Sriharikota. The Lander payloads and Rover payloads will carry various scientific instruments and equipment to accomplish the mission objectives.

Lander Payloads

lunar launcher 1

The Lander payloads of Chandrayaan-3 include:

  • Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE): Measures the thermal conductivity and temperature of the lunar surface.
  • Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA): Measures the seismicity around the landing site.
  • Langmuir Probe (LP): Estimates the plasma density and its variations.
  • Passive Laser Retroreflector Array: Provided by NASA for lunar laser ranging studies.

Rover Payloads

The Rover payloads of Chandrayaan-3 include:

  • Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS): Analyzes the elemental composition in the vicinity of the landing site.
  • Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS): Derives the elemental and mineralogical composition of the lunar surface.

Propulsion Module and Other Features

The propulsion module of Chandrayaan-3 carries the Lander and Rover configuration to a lunar orbit of 100 km. It also includes the Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload, which studies the spectral and polarimetric measurements of Earth from the lunar orbit.

To accomplish its mission objectives, Chandrayaan-3 incorporates advanced technologies such as altimeters, velocimeters, inertial measurement systems, propulsion systems, navigation and guidance systems, hazard detection and avoidance systems, and landing leg mechanisms.

Specifications and Scientific Focus

A cinematic composition depicting solarpunk tribe

The overall specifications of Chandrayaan-3 include a mission life of approximately 14 Earth days, a landing site of 4 km x 2.4 km near the lunar south pole, and various scientific payloads on the Lander and Rover modules. The total mass of the mission is 3900 kg, and power generation is provided by solar panels.

The scientific payloads on the Lander module aim to study the near-surface plasma density, thermal properties of the lunar surface, lunar seismic activity, and the dynamics of the Moon system. The Rover payloads focus on elemental and mineralogical analysis of the lunar soil and rocks.

Conclusion

Chandrayaan-3 represents a significant step in India’s space exploration program, as it aims to demonstrate safe landing and roving on the lunar surface. With its advanced technology, scientific instruments, and strategic objectives, Chandrayaan-3 will contribute to expanding our understanding of the moon and developing key technologies for future interplanetary missions.


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