PM Modi names Chandrayaan-3 touchdown site as Shiv Shakti Point, 23 August to be celebrated as National Space Day

Modi also named the spot on the Moon where Chandrayaan-2 crash-landed in September 2019 as Tiranga Point.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Aug 26, 2023 | 11:33 AMUpdatedAug 26, 2023 | 11:33 AM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing BJP workers outside the HAL Airport in Bengaluru on Saturday, 26 August. (Screengrab)

The site where the Chandrayaan-3’s lander module touched down will be known as Shiv Shakti Point, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced while addressing scientists of the Indian Speace Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bengaluru on Saturday, 26 August.

He named the site where Chandrayaan-2 had left its footprint as Tiranga (tricolour) Point.

Modi arrived in Bengaluru from Athens, Greece, early on Saturday, and drove to the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command (ISTRAC) Network Centre at Peenya, some 23 km from the airport.

Explaining the new nomenclatures, the prime minister told scientists that Shiv represented the welfare of humanity, which could be achieved by Shakti (strength). Referring to his “Har Ghar Thiranga” campaign, he said Indian scientists have hoisted the country’s flag on the Moon.

Related: Pragyan rover on a 8-metre expedition on moon, payloads engaged

National Space Day

Modi also declared that 23 August, the day on which India became the first country to land a spacecraft on the Lunar South Pole, would be celebrated as National Space Day.

In an emotional speech, he saluted the scientific community for taking India to greater heights.

“This is not an ordinary success. India is on the Moon. We have our national pride placed on the Moon,” the prime minister lauded the scientists, technicians, engineers, and others. “We have reached a place on the Moon where no one has ever gone or no one has ever dared to go. This is today’s Bharat,” he said.

Modi lamented his “unfortunate absence” at the mission control when Chandrayaan-3 soft-landed on the Moon and created history. The prime minister was with the scientists when Chandrayaan-2 crashed on the Moon in September 2019.

He said that though he viewed the live-streaming of the landing from Johannesburg in South Africa, his heart was in India. He decided to meet the ISRO scientists the moment he landed in the country. Modi was in South Africa to attend the 15th BRICS Summit. He went to Greece from South Africa before returning home.

Related: Why did ISRO choose South Pole of the Moon for landing Chandrayaan-3?

New slogan

Prime Minister Modi arrived at the HAL Airport around 6.15 am. Addressing BJP workers outside the airport, he replaced former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan slogan with Jai Jawan, Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan — Hail the soldier, Hail science, Hail research. The crowd cheered and chanted the slogan after him.

Modi clarified that he had informed the Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot that they need not welcome him at the airport as per the protocol, since his intention was only to congratulate the ISRO scientists.

BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel, other leaders, and their supporters welcomed the prime minister.

At ISTRAC, ISRO Chairman S Somanath welcomed the prime minister and briefed him about the successful mission. The prime minister also looked at the latest images from the lander and the rover.

Addressing the scientific community, Modi said that ISRO’s achievement has paved the way for several other countries to follow suit.

“The few seconds on the evening of 23 August when Vikram, the lander, touched down on the surface of the Moon will remain etched in my memory,” he said, adding, “Bharat has eternally left its imprint on the Moon.”