Ahead of Chandrayaan-3’s soft-landing on the lunar surface, scheduled for August 23, a senior Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist said on Monday that the national space agency will go ahead with the landing only if conditions on the day are favourable; otherwise, a fresh attempt will be made on August 27, he noted.
“Two hours before Chandrayaan-3 lands on the Moon, we will take a decision on whether or not it will be appropriate to land it at that time based on the health of the lander module and the conditions on the Moon. In case, if any factor appears to be not favourable, then we will land the module on the Moon on August 27,” Nilesh M Desai, Director, Space Applications Centre, ISRO, told news agency ANI.
Desai, however, expressed confidence that Vikram, the mission’s lander module, will reach the lunar surface as per the original schedule.
According to ISRO, Vikram’s landing will be attempted a little after 6pm on August 23 (Wednesday); if successful, India will enter an elite list, becoming only the fourth country to achieve a soft-landing on the Moon, joining the United States, Russia, and China. However, the recent failure of Russia’s Luna-25 mission means that India has an opportunity to become the first country to achieve a soft-landing on the Moon’s south pole, Chandrayaan-3’s intended destination.
Chandrayaan-3 took off from ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDCC) in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota on July 14.