Chandrayaan-3: India’s Lunar Odyssey to Unveil the Secrets of the Moon

The exploration of space has always ignited our curiosity and fascination, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and scientific achievements.

In this pursuit, countries around the world have embarked on ambitious missions to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

One such mission is Chandrayaan-3, India’s next lunar exploration venture, which aims to make India the 4th nation to land a module on the moon.

Chandrayaan-3 is the third mission in the prestigious Chandrayaan series, initiated by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The mission focuses on exploring the Moon’s surface and gathering valuable scientific data to enhance our understanding of Earth’s celestial neighbor.

Building upon the technological advancements and experiences gained from Chandrayaan-2, Chandrayaan-3 promises to be a significant milestone for India’s space exploration endeavors.

The Chandrayaan mission holds immense importance for India as it signifies the nation’s aspirations to establish itself as a key player in space exploration.

The origins of the mission can be traced back to the early 2000s when ISRO began conceptualizing a lunar exploration program.

Chandrayaan-1, the first mission of the series, was launched in 2008 and achieved notable success by discovering water molecules on the lunar surface.

This breakthrough sparked further interest and laid the foundation for subsequent missions like Chandrayaan-2 and now Chandrayaan-3.

Chandrayaan-3 has a set of ambitious objectives that aim to expand our knowledge of the Moon and its geological characteristics.

The primary goals include conducting detailed studies of the lunar surface, analyzing the distribution of elements, mapping the topography, and investigating the presence of water molecules and minerals.

By achieving these objectives, Chandrayaan-3 will contribute significantly to our understanding of the Moon’s origin, its evolution, and its potential resources.

Overview of the Chandrayaan-3 Mission Timeline

Chandrayaan-3 mission timeline

Chandrayaan-3 successfully launched today (7/14/23) at 2.35 p.m. IST from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. It consists of a lander, propulsion, and rover module.

The lander and rover will collect scientific data on the surface of the moon for 14 Earth days while the propulsion module will gaze at our planet for its own scientific experiment.

1. Earth Centric Phase (Phase-1)

  • Pre-launch Phase
  • Launch and Ascent Phase
  • Earth-bound Maneuver Phase

2. Lunar Transfer Phase (Phase-2)

  • Transfer Trajectory Phase

3. Moon Centric Phase

  • Lunar Orbit Insertion Phase (LOI)-(Phase-3)
  • Moon-bound Manoeuvre Phase (Phase-4)
  • PM and Lunar Module Separation (Phase-5)
  • De-boost Phase (Phase-6)
  • Pre-landing Phase (Phase-7)
  • Landing Phase (Phase-8)
  • Normal Phase for Lander and Rover (Phase-9)
  • Moon Centric Normal Orbit Phase (Phase-10)

Chandrayaan-3’s Launch Vehicle

Chandrayaan-3's Launch Vehicle (LVM3)

The LVM3 is the operational heavy-lift launch vehicle of the Chandrayaan-3 developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The LVM3 stands at approximately 43 meters tall and has a lift-off mass of around 640 tons. It features two solid rocket boosters that provide significant thrust during the initial phase of flight.

The core stage is powered by a liquid-fueled engine called the L110, which burns a combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants.

The upper stage, known as the C25, is equipped with a cryogenic engine capable of delivering high performance in space.

With its advanced technologies and capabilities, the LVM3 plays a crucial role in enabling India’s aspirations for space exploration and satellite launches.

Chandrayaan-3’s Propulsion Module

Chandrayaan-3's Propulsion Module during testing

The propulsion module on Chandrayaan-3 serves as a critical component for maneuvering and controlling the spacecraft during its mission. It consists of propulsion engines and thrusters that provide the necessary thrust and propulsion capabilities.

The engines are designed to execute various maneuvers, including trajectory corrections, lunar orbit insertion, and descent and landing operations on the lunar surface.

These engines utilize a combination of liquid propellants, typically liquid bipropellants such as a combination of hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, to generate thrust efficiently and precisely.

The propulsion module ensures the spacecraft’s ability to navigate accurately, achieve the desired orbits, and facilitate the successful landing of the lander and rover on the Moon’s surface.

It also contains SHAPE (Spectro-Polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth) which is an experimental payload designed to study the Spectro-polarimetric signatures of Earth in the near-infrared wavelength.

Chandrayaan-3’s Lander & Rover Module

Chandrayaan-3's Lander Module During Testing

The lander and rover module of Chandrayaan-3 is a key component of the mission’s lunar exploration objectives.

The lander is designed to achieve a soft landing on the Moon’s surface, deploying the rover for surface operations. It incorporates advanced technologies and engineering to ensure a safe descent and landing.

The rover, equipped with scientific instruments, will conduct extensive research and exploration, analyzing the lunar terrain, and mineral composition, and potentially searching for water ice deposits.

The 2 modules consist of many scientific instruments to conduct their experiments.

Lander Module Scientific Payloads

  • (RAMBHA-LP) Langmuir Probe: To measure the moon’s surface plasma density and its changes over time.
  • (ChaSTE) Chandra’s Surface Thermo-Physical Experiment: To carry out the measurements of thermal properties of the lunar surface near the moon’s polar region.
  • (ILSA) Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity: To measure seismicity around the landing site and delineate the structure of the lunar crust and mantle.

Rover Module Scientific Payloads

  • (APXS) Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer: To derive the chemical composition and infer mineralogical composition to further enhance our understanding of the lunar surface.
  • (LIBS) Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope: To determine the elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks around the lunar landing site.

Importance of Chandrayaan-3 for India’s Space Exploration Program

Chandrayaan-3 represents a significant milestone in India’s space exploration program, showcasing the nation’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge and technological prowess.

The mission not only builds upon the achievements of Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2 but also demonstrates India’s determination to persist and learn from setbacks, further cementing its position as a prominent player in the global space arena.

The successful execution of Chandrayaan-3 will have profound implications for India’s future space missions. It will bolster confidence in the nation’s capabilities, encouraging the pursuit of more ambitious ventures beyond lunar exploration.

The knowledge gained from Chandrayaan-3 will serve as a foundation for future missions to other celestial bodies, such as Mars, asteroids, and beyond, expanding the horizons of India’s space exploration program.

Chandrayaan-3 is just the beginning of India’s ambitious lunar exploration program. The mission sets the stage for future endeavors that will delve even deeper into the mysteries of the Moon.

The knowledge gained from Chandrayaan-3 will inform the design and objectives of subsequent missions, enabling more sophisticated experiments, more advanced technology, and a deeper understanding of the Moon’s geological processes.

Future missions may involve sample return missions, where lunar regolith and rock samples are collected and brought back to Earth for detailed analysis.

This will provide scientists with an unprecedented opportunity to study the Moon’s composition and history in laboratories on Earth, further unlocking its secrets.

Additionally, Chandrayaan-3 and future missions can contribute to the development of a sustainable human presence on the Moon.

The exploration of potential resources, such as water and minerals, will be crucial for establishing a lunar base and enabling long-duration missions. This, in turn, opens up possibilities for future human missions to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.


In conclusion, Chandrayaan-3 holds immense potential for India’s space exploration program and the broader scientific community.

Its success will not only propel India’s space ambitions but also inspire future generations to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), fostering innovation and pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

As the mission unfolds, we eagerly await the discoveries and advancements that Chandrayaan-3 will bring, taking us one step closer to unlocking the mysteries of the Moon and beyond.

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