Chandrayaan-3 Moon Landing Live Updates: India took a walk on the Moon

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Chandrayaan-3 Moon Landing Live Updates: Countdown Embarking on a 40-day voyage since its departure from the Sathish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, the much-anticipated Chandrayaan-3 mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is now poised for a momentous lunar landing.

The projected time for the Vikram lander’s gentle touchdown is 6.04 PM IST on August 23. For those eager to witness this historic event, the live streaming of the landing will commence at 5.27 PM IST.

As the launch approaches, ISRO stands prepared to initiate the mission’s automatic landing sequence at 5.44 PM IST. At this juncture, the Vikram lander will rely on its onboard computational systems and algorithms to skillfully execute a soft lunar landing.

The Chandrayaan-3 Mission follows in the wake of the 2019 Chandrayaan-2 endeavor, during which the Vikram lander encountered an unfortunate crash on the lunar surface. The primary aim of this mission is elegantly straightforward: to showcase ISRO’s prowess in accomplishing a flawless lunar soft landing.

Should this mission triumph, India will secure a coveted position within a small, exclusive assembly of nations that have achieved such a feat. Presently, this elite group comprises solely the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.

Chandrayaan-3 Moon Landing Live Updates

A Brief to Understand the Whole Process:

  • July 14, 2023 – ISRO launched Chandrayaan-3 into orbit for 14 Earth days mission on the Moon
  • July 14 to July 31 – Four orbit-raising manoeuvres performed
  • August 1, 2023 – Chandrayaan is inserted into the translunar orbit
  • August 5, 2023 – Chandrayaan successfully entered into lunar orbit
  • August 6 to 16, 2023 – Four orbit-reduction manoeuvres were carried out to reach closer to Moon
  • August 17, 2023 – Lander module successfully separated from the propulsion module
  • August 18, 2023 – ISRO performs ‘deboosting’ to reduce Chandrayaan’s orbit to 113 x 157 km
  • August 20, 2023 – ISRO carries out final ‘deboosting’ to reduce further Chandrayaan’s orbit to 25 X 134 km
  • August 23, 2023 – Countdown begins for soft landing of Chandrayaan 3, which is set to touchdown on Moon at 6.04 pm

The phases of descent are initial preparation, velocity reduction, orientation change, attitude hold phase, fine braking, final descent, and touchdown, a former ISRO scientist told ABP Live. 

Once the Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander and Pragyan rover successfully touch down on the Moon, images captured by the cameras on board the spacecraft will be shared with Earth.

At 16:19 PM on August 23:Machines are geared up to run the show

Chandrayaan-3 Moon Landing Live Updates

The pivotal moments during Chandrayaan-3’s descent, often referred to as the “15 minutes of terror,” hold the key to determining the mission’s success. Within this critical time frame, the Vikram lander will operate autonomously, relying on its onboard computer logic rather than remote piloting.

While vigilant mission controllers at ISTRAC will maintain close surveillance, the intricate operations will predominantly be orchestrated by the spacecraft’s internal systems.

The rationale behind this approach stems from the approximately two-second duration it takes for a radio signal to travel to or from the Moon. Such a time lag, potentially amounting to a delay of up to four seconds, could prove detrimental in responding to exigent scenarios. Thus, the optimal solution entails entrusting autonomous mechanisms aboard the spacecraft to manage such situations effectively.

ISRO Chairperson S Somanath elaborated on this design philosophy, stating that even in the face of sensor failures or other setbacks, the lander remains equipped to execute a successful landing, provided its propulsion system remains functional.

The lander’s architecture has been meticulously crafted to accommodate multiple potential failures. Somanath Emphasised the importance of the efficacy of the algorithms, expressing confidence that if these algorithms perform as intended, a precise vertical landing can be achieved. This insight was shared earlier this month as part of his explanation concerning the mission’s sophisticated landing systems.

At 15:30 PM on August 23: Scientists’s Vision behind the Chandrayaan-3 mission

As the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s anticipated lunar landing draws near, the spotlight shines on a few pivotal minds steering ISRO’s lunar aspirations. Delve into the profiles of these key scientists instrumental in shaping the Moon mission’s trajectory:

P Veeramuthuvel – Mission Director: At the forefront of the mission’s orchestration, P Veeramuthuvel’s expertise guides Chandrayaan-3’s voyage. His role is pivotal in ensuring the seamless execution of the mission’s intricate objectives.

B N Ramakrishna – ISTRAC Director: Overseeing the mission’s crucial tracking and control operations, B N Ramakrishna plays a central role at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (ISTRAC). His leadership ensures effective communication and monitoring during this critical phase.

M Sankaran – U R Rao Space Centre Director: As director of the U R Rao Space Centre, M Sankaran shoulders the responsibility of aligning the mission’s endeavors with the center’s overarching goals. His guidance contributes to the integration of technology and innovation.

S Mohana Kumar – Launch Mission Director: Charged with the intricate task of overseeing the mission’s launch phase, S Mohana Kumar brings his expertise to the fore. His meticulous coordination ensures the mission sets off on the right trajectory.

V Narayanan – Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre Director: Heading the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, V Narayanan’s domain encompasses the mission’s propulsion systems. His leadership is instrumental in propelling Chandrayaan-3 towards its lunar destination.

S Unnikrishnan Nair – Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director: At the helm of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, S Unnikrishnan Nair shapes the mission’s spacecraft development. His leadership drives the center’s contributions to the mission’s technological advancements.

At 14:52 PM on August 23: How did Luna-25 crash?

Not too long ago, Chandrayaan-3 faced strong competition from another mission with ambitions of landing at the lunar south pole – Russia’s Luna-25. Despite launching roughly a month after Chandrayaan-3, the Russian space agency Roscosmos aimed for an earlier lunar landing by taking a more direct route to our celestial neighbour.

However, those plans were dashed as Roscosmos officially confirmed the crash-landing of Luna-25 on the Moon. Yuri Borisov, the head of Roscosmos, explained that the engine shutdown during the landing sequence did not proceed as intended. Instead of adhering to the planned 84-second shutdown, the engine operated for 127 seconds. This unexpected behaviour was identified as the primary factor behind the mission’s failure, as reported by RIA Novosti.

Roscosmos issued a statement on Sunday outlining that the actual shift in spacecraft momentum differed from the projected values while it was manoeuvring into a pre-landing orbit. The spacecraft’s systems seemingly couldn’t manage this discrepancy, ultimately resulting in the crash landing.

At 13:45 PM on August 23:Chandrayaan-2 as a helping hand

Upon separating from its propulsion module, the Chandrayaan-3 lander established communication through a link with the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which has been in lunar orbit for the past four years. The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter has already been instrumental in the mission, assisting in the identification of a suitable landing site for Chandrayaan-3.

This role will persist as it continues to act as an intermediary, facilitating communication between the new lander and ground stations.

The lander’s data will be transmitted to the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which in turn will relay the information to ISRO’s ground stations as well as collaborating agencies.

At 12:58 AM on August 23:ISRO is ready to begin automatic landing sequence

In a message posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, ISRO announced its readiness to commence the Automatic Landing Sequence (ALS) for Chandrayaan-3. This sequence will be initiated once the lander module reaches the specified location, scheduled for 5:44 PM IST today.

At 11:48 AM on August 23: What stopped Chandrayaan-2 from soft landing?

In the course of the Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019, the Vikram lander encountered a loss of control at an altitude of approximately 7.2 kilometres over the lunar surface. The mission’s communication systems transmitted data regarding this loss of control when the lander was at an altitude of approximately 400 metres above the surface. Ultimately, the lander managed to decelerate to a velocity of roughly 580 kilometres per hour before the eventual impact.

At 11:22 AM on August 23: Demonstrated the “15 minutes of terror”

Chandrayaan-3’s progress mirrors that of its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, up until now in 2019. However, the mission’s ultimate success hangs in the balance during the final 15 minutes, as the Vikram lander endeavours to achieve a gentle lunar landing.

As per The Indian Express, a pivotal step in this phase is transitioning the lander from a rapid horizontal orientation to a stable vertical position. K. Sivan, who was the head of ISRO during Chandrayaan-2, vividly referred to this phase as the “15 minutes of terror” back then.

During the Chandrayaan-2 mission, Vikram faltered in its shift from horizontal to vertical, resulting in a crash on the lunar surface during the “fine-braking” stage when it was approximately 7.42 kilometres above the Moon’s surface.

Another critical aspect of the landing procedure involves diminishing its horizontal velocity from roughly 6,000 kilometers per hour at an altitude of about 30 kilometers above the Moon to nearly zero upon landing.

At 8:00 AM on August 23: plan to land Chandrayaan-3

How will Chandrayaan-3 Land?

Chandrayaan-3’s lander is scheduled to make contact with the lunar surface at 6.04 PM IST today, following a 17-minute descent from its current pre-landing orbit. The Telemetry Tracking and Command Centre (ISTRAC) located in Bengaluru, under the space agency’s supervision, will transmit a command at 5.47 PM to initiate the spacecraft’s landing sequence.

At this juncture, the spacecraft will be hurtling through space at approximately 6,000 kilometres per hour. It will need to gradually decelerate to achieve a near-zero relative velocity before settling onto the lunar terrain. Notably, the lander is designed to execute a safe landing even at velocities as high as 10 kilometres per hour.

During the conclusive phase of its descent, the Chandrayaan-3 craft will autonomously navigate under the guidance of its onboard systems, with minimal interventions from mission controllers on Earth. This autonomous control will demand real-time adjustments and trajectory corrections based on data gathered from the spacecraft’s sensors. This crucial 17-minute span will be a nail-biting experience for the ISRO teams as they observe the proceedings from our planet.

At 18.23 PM on August 22: Journey of Chandrayaan-3 since July 14, 2023

After its launch on July 14, Chandrayaan-3 successfully entered lunar orbit on August 5. Subsequently, orbit reduction maneuvers were executed on August 6, 9, 14, and 16 to fine-tune the satellite’s trajectory. These preparations led to the separation of both modules on August 17, setting the stage for the upcoming landing on August 23.

In the preceding three weeks following the July 14 launch, ISRO orchestrated a series of five maneuvers to gradually propel the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into increasingly distant orbits from Earth.

A pivotal moment arrived on August 1, marked by a significant maneuver known as a “slingshot move.” During this operation, the spacecraft was effectively directed from Earth’s orbit towards the Moon with successful outcomes. Following this trans-lunar injection, Chandrayaan-3 broke free from Earth’s gravitational pull and embarked on a trajectory aimed at bringing it into the vicinity of the Moon.

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