ISRO chief credits Chandrayaan-3 success to ‘incremental progress’, ‘contribution of a generation of leadership’

On 23 August, India scripted history as ISRO's ambitious moon mission's Lander Module touched down on the lunar surface.

BySumit Jha

Published Aug 23, 2023 | 8:59 PMUpdatedAug 23, 2023 | 9:00 PM

India is the fourth country to touch down on the Moon and the first to land on the unexplored south pole. (Deeksha Devadiga/South First)

“This is the result of incremental progress, the contribution of a generation of leadership, and scientists of the country’s space agency that put India on the Moon,” said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman S Somanath on Wednesday, 23 August, following the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s success.

“This is a journey we started with Chandrayaan-1 and continued with Chandrayaan-2. The team that contributed to building Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2 should be remembered and thanked while we celebrate Chandrayaan-3,” he added.

ISRO mission

On Wednesday, India scripted history as ISRO’s ambitious third Moon mission Chandrayaan-3’s Lander Module (LM) touched down on the lunar surface, making it the fourth country to accomplish the feat, and the first to reach the uncharted south pole of Earth’s only natural satellite.

The LM, comprising the lander (Vikram) and the 26-kg rover (Pragyan), made the soft landing near the south-polar region of the Moon in the evening.

The landing was greeted with thunderous applause by the scientists and ISRO staff.

The scientists, including Somanath, Project Director P Veeramuthuvel, and Mission Director Srikanth, said that the success of the mission was a fruition of the hard work put in by Team ISRO.

ISRO tweeted, “‘India, I reached my destination and you too!’ : Chandrayaan-3. Chandrayaan-3 has successfully soft-landed on the moon! Congratulations, India!”

Also read: Chandrayaan-3 Lander Module makes soft landing on Moon

Scientists look forward

Veeramuthuvel said that the mission’s success has given him immense happiness and added that it was a reward for the hard work of all those involved in the mission. He said, “We have become the first country to go near the south pole of the Moon. I feel very happy.”

Somanath said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people behind this mission.” The next 14 days of experiments by the instruments on the lander and rover will be exciting, he added.

“Thank you everyone for the support…We learnt a lot from our failure and, today, we succeeded. We are looking forward to the next 14 days…it will be exciting”, he said.

He also told Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who watched the soft landing of the lander from South Africa via video-conferencing, that “India is on the moon”.

Congratulating his team on the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, he said that the most difficult parts were the launch, landing, and capture by the orbit of the Moon, as well as the launch of the lander to descent, and the final landing. The lander’s health will be assessed and the rover will come out from the lander in the next few hours, Somanath said.

He also said that the landing velocity was less than the targeted two metres per second and gave great hope for future missions.

Somanath said that Chandrayaan-3 had support from ground stations around the world and was giving real-time information and data about the mission. He also said that only India could carry out a mission of this scale in a cost-effective way.

Also read: Why ISRO chose 23 August for the landing of Chandrayaan-3

What’s next?

Looking forward already, Somanath said that Aditya L1 — the Sun exploratory mission — was set to be launched next month.

“ISRO is planning many missions. Immediate is Aditya L1 to study the Sun. It will be integrated with a rocket today or tomorrow. Everything is going as per plan,” he said.

He added that it would take 120 days to reach its destination 15 lakh km away from Earth.

“The next will be the Gaganyaan mission demonstration. It could in the end of September or the first week of October,” he announced.

Associate Project Director Kalpana said, “It is the most memorable moment for me and my team. This is what we have strived for in the past so many years. We achieved our target!”

Also read: Chandrayaan-3 soft landing as planned on Wednesday: ISRO chief