India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft lands for the first time at the South Pole of the Moon

TIME.CO, Bangalore – Spaceship India, Chandrayaan-3being the first to land at the south pole moon the rugged and the uncharted Wednesday, August 23, 2023. This mission is seen as pivotal to the exploration of the Moon and India’s position as a space power, and comes just days after a similar mission by the downed Russian lander.

“This moment is unforgettable. It is phenomenal. This is India’s cry of a new victory,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday as quoted by Reuters. Modi waved the Indian flag as he watched the disembarkation from South Africa where he was attending a BRICS summit, a group that unites Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

View of the moon as seen from the Chandrayaan-3 lander during lunar orbit insertion on August 5, 2023 in this screenshot from video released August 6, 2023. ISRO/Handout via REUTERS/Files Photos

Scientists and officials cheered, cheered and hugged as the spacecraft landed and people across India celebrated, setting off firecrackers and dancing in the streets.

“India is on the moon,” S. Somanath, head of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said on the Chandrayaan-3 landing, making India the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on the Moon after the United States, China and the United States. the former Soviet Union.

ISRO has shared an image of the spacecraft showing the surface of the Moon as well as the legs and shadow of the lander.

Rugged terrain made landing at the south pole difficult, but the region’s ice could provide fuel, oxygen and clean water for future missions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated India in a message to Modi posted on the Kremlin website. “This is a major breakthrough in space exploration and certainly a testament to India’s impressive advances in science and technology,” he said.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson congratulated ISRO on the landing. “And congratulations to India for being the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on the Moon,” he said on X, formerly of Twitter. “We are happy to be your partner in this mission!”

India’s long-awaited lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, is scheduled to launch on July 14, 2023. This is India’s second attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon and comes less than a week after the mission failed Russian Luna-25. People across the country glued to their television screens and prayed as the spacecraft approached the surface. Nearly 7 million people watch YouTube live.


Chandrayaan means “vehicle of the Moon” in Hindi and Sanskrit. In 2019, ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 mission successfully deployed the orbiter but the lander crashed. Chandrayaan-3 is expected to remain operational for two weeks, performing a series of experiments including a spectrometric analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar surface.

It will take the lunar rover several hours to a day to exit the spacecraft, Somanath told reporters, adding that the landing gave India the confidence to extend its reach to possible trips to Mars and Venus.

India also plans to launch a mission in September to study the Sun, Somanath said. Human spaceflight is also planned, and while no official date has been announced yet, preparations will likely be ready by 2024.

The landing is expected to enhance India’s reputation for cost-effective aerospace engineering. Chandrayaan-3 was launched with a budget of approximately Rs 6.15 billion ($74 million), which is less than the production cost of the 2013 Hollywood space thriller ‘Gravity’.

“The South Pole landing will actually allow India to explore whether there is water ice on the Moon. And this is very important for cumulative data and for science on the geology of the Moon,” said Carla Filotico, partner and chief executive officer of consultancy SpaceTec Partners.

Anticipation before landing was high, with headlines in Indian newspapers and news channels reporting the countdown to the landing. Prayers were held in places of worship across the country and schoolchildren waved the Indian tricolor as they awaited the live screening of the landing.

Children gathered on the banks of the Ganges, considered sacred by Hindus, to pray for safe harbor, and mosques offered prayers. In Sikh temples, known as gurduwaras, in the capital New Delhi, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also offered prayers. “Not only the economy but India has also made progress in science and technology,” Puri told reporters.

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