Chandrayaan-3 Takes off and is Scheduled to Land Approximately one Month Later
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Chandrayaan-3 Takes off and is Scheduled to Land Approximately one Month Later

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On July 14 afternoon, India's third lunar exploration mission took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, in the hopes of joining the elite group of nations that have achieved a soft landing on the Moon's surface.

The mission follows the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Chandrayaan-2, which failed to achieve a desired soft landing on the lunar surface nearly four years ago in September 2019, due to a communication failure between the lander and ground stations at an altitude of only 2.1 km above the Moon's surface.

Chandrayaan-3 will journey for over a month before landing on the lunar surface later in August. If successful, the mission will make India the only fourth nation, after the United States, the former Soviet Union and China, to have accomplished the task.

The ISRO explained the three main goals of this 615 crore mission: safe and soft landing on the Moon, roving on its surface, and studying its environment. The spacecraft is made up of a six-wheeled lander and rover module that is outfitted with payloads to collect data from the moon's surface. "Chandrayaan-3 consists of an indigenous Lander module (LM), Propulsion module (PM), and Rover with the goal of developing and demonstrating new technologies required for interplanetary missions," the ISRO explained about the project on its website.