New Delhi [India], August 23 (ANI): It was a giant leap for India on Wednesday evening as the Chandrayaan-3 lander module successfully landed on the moon’s South Pole, making it the first country to have achieved the historic feat and bringing to an end the disappointment over the crash landing of the Chandrayaan-2, four years ago.
Officials at India’s space agency ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru broke into applause after the Vikram began its powered vertical descent towards its landing site.
“India is on the moon!” Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is currently attending the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg said. He watched the live telecast and as soon as the touchdown happened he sported a big smile and waved the tricolour.
The countdown of the Vikram hovered at 150 metres, then 130 metres, 50 metres and decelerated as approached the moon’s service before finally touching down on the lunar surface.
This makes India becomes the fourth country – after US, China, and Russia – to have successfully landed on the moon’s surface, it has earned a place in record books as the first to touchdown on the south side of Earth’s only natural satellite.
Billions of people across India and globally closely monitoring the much-awaited event. More so after Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft crashed on Sunday after spinning out of control.
The scheduled timing for the soft landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the moon’s south pole on August 23, 2023 (Wednesday), was 18:04 IST, with the powered descent of Vikram lander at 1745 IST.
ISRO had been releasing a series of up-close images of the moon, assisting the lander module in determining its position (latitude and longitude) by matching them against an onboard moon reference map.
Historically, spacecraft missions to the Moon have primarily targeted the equatorial region due to its favourable terrain and operating conditions..
Chandrayaan-3’s development phase commenced in January 2020, with the launch planned sometime in 2021.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic brought an unforeseen delay to the mission’s progress. The approved cost of Chandrayaan-3 is Rs 250 crores (excluding launch vehicle cost).
Chandrayaan-2 mission was only “partially successful” since the lander lost contact after a hard landing, but the ISRO earlier this week successfully established two-way communication between the Chandrayaan-3 lander module and the still orbiting Chandrayaan-2 orbiter.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Bill Nelson on Wednesday congratulated India and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3.
He also hailed the India-US partnership on Artemis Accords which aims to establish a common vision via a practical set of principles, guidelines, and best practices.
“Congratulations @isro on your successful Chandrayaan-3 lunar South Pole landing! And congratulations to #India on being the 4th country to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon. We’re glad to be your partner on this mission!” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on X (formerly Twitter).
Director of Championing Space at the UK Space Agency Professor Anu Ojha OBE congratulated India on the successful soft-landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon.
He further said that the successful landing of Chandryaan-3 in the southern polar region of the moon is evidence that we are living in a new space age.
“Congratulations to India on this amazing feat of engineering and perseverance. The successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 in the southern polar region of the moon is further evidence that we are living in a new space age, with space agencies and companies across the world setting their sights on the Moon and beyond,” Anu Ojha OBE said in a statement.
Alan Ganoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade – Mauritius put this tweet:
Congratulating my counterpart @DrSJaishankar Jaishankar, the leadership of India and ISRO on the momentous achievement of the Chandrayaan-3 breakthrough lunar mission