Chandrayaan-3 landing: India becomes the fourth country ever to land a spacecraft on the moon | CNN (2023)

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India has landed its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the moon, becoming only the fourth nation ever to accomplish such a feat.

The mission could cement India’s status as a global superpower in space. Previously, only the United States, China and the former Soviet Union have completed soft landings on the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan-3’s landing site is also closer to the moon’s south pole than any other spacecraft in history has ventured. The south pole region is considered an area of key scientific and strategic interest for spacefaring nations, as scientists believe the region to be home towater icedeposits.

The water, frozen inshadowy craters, could be converted into rocket fuel or even drinking water for future crewed missions.

Chandrayaan-3 landing: India becomes the fourth country ever to land a spacecraft on the moon | CNN (1)

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Ex-NASA astronaut explains why the moon's south pole is of special interest

00:45 - Source: CNN

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, currently in South Africa for the BRICS Summit, watched the landing virtually and shared broadcasted remarks on the livestream.

“On this joyous occasion…I would like to address all the people of the world,” he said. “India’s successful moon mission is not just India’s alone. This is a year in which the world is witnessing India’s G20 presidency. Our approach of one Earth, one family, one future is resonating across the globe.

“This human-centric approach that we present and we represent has been welcome universally. Our moon mission is also based on the same human-centric approach,” Modi added. “Therefore, this success belongs to all of humanity, and it will help moon missions by other countries in the future.”

India’s attempt to land its spacecraft near the lunar south pole comes just days after another nation’s failed attempt to do the same. Russia’s Luna 25 spacecraft crashed into the moon on August 19 after its engines misfired, ending the country’s first lunar landing attempt in 47 years.

Chandrayaan-3’s journey

As Chandrayaan-3 approached the moon, its cameras captured photographs, including one taken on August 20 that India’s space agency shared Tuesday. The image offers a close-up of the moon’s dusty gray terrain.

India’s lunar lander consists of three parts: a lander, rover and propulsion module, which provided the spacecraft all the thrust required to traverse the 384,400-kilometer (238,855-mile) void between the moon and Earth.

The lander, called Vikram, completed the precision maneuvers required to make a soft touchdown on the lunar surface after it was ejected from the propulsion module. Tucked inside is Pragyan, a small, six-wheeled rover that will deploy from the lander by rolling down a ramp.

Vikram used its on board thrusters to carefully orient itself as it approached the lunar surface, and it slowly throttled down its engines for a touchdown just after 6 p.m. IST (8:30 a.m. ET) as applause erupted from the mission control room.

The Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, later confirmed it had established two-way communication with the spacecraft and shared the first images of the surface captured during the lander’s final descent.

The lander, which weighs about 1,700 kilograms (3,748 pounds), and 26-kilogram (57.3-pound) rover are packed with scientific instruments, prepared to capture data to help researchers analyze the lunar surface and deliver fresh insights into its composition.

Chandrayaan-3 landing: India becomes the fourth country ever to land a spacecraft on the moon | CNN (2)

Applause erupted in the control room Wednesday when India's lunar lander touched down on the moon's surface.

Dr. Angela Marusiak, an assistant research professor at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, said she’s particularly excited that the lunar lander includes a seismometer that will attempt to detect quakes within the moon’s interior.

Studying how the moon’s inner layers move could be key information for future endeavors on the lunar surface, Marusiak said.

“You want to make sure that any potential seismic activity wouldn’t endanger any astronauts,” Marusiak said. “Or, if we were to build structures on the moon, that they would be safe from any seismic activity.”

The lander and rover are expected to function for about two weeks on the moon’s surface. The propulsion module will remain in orbit, serving as a relay point for beaming data back to Earth.

A global moon rush

Working alongsidealliessuch as the United States and France, India is part of a second wave of emerging space powers. The country’s space program has become one of the world’s busiest in its development of exploratory space technology.

Chandrayaan-3 has been a point of national pride and widespread interest across India. Crowds gathered at the launchpadat Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh state to watch the mission take flight in July. On Wednesday, more than 8 million people tuned in to view a livestream of the landing.

Chandrayaan-3 landing: India becomes the fourth country ever to land a spacecraft on the moon | CNN (3)

Children in a school in Guwahati, India, celebrate Chandrayaan-3's successful landing on the moon on Wednesday.

At least 500 people gathered at India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Delhi Wednesday where the livestream was broadcast in an auditorium as well as outdoors at a temporary pavilion. After a successful touchdown was confirmed, Indian sweets were distributed to the audience, firecrackers were lit and spectators applauded for more than a minute.

Chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” — or “victory to India” — could be heard, and children joyously waved the Indian flag.

Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-3, the word for "moon craft" in Sanskrit, travels after it was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, Friday, July 14, 2023. The Indian spacecraft blazed its way to the far side of the moon Friday in a follow-up mission to its failed effort nearly four years ago to land a rover softly on the lunar surface, the country's space agency said. A successful landing would make India the fourth country, after the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, to achieve the feat. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi) Aijaz Rahi/AP Opinion: India’s moon landing shines an uncomfortable light on Russia’s failures

India’s mission has taken on even greater significance since Russia’s failed Luna 25 landing attempt. With the success of Chandrayaan-3, India became the second country to land a spacecraft on the moon in the 21st century after China, which has put three landers on the lunar surface since 2013 — including the first to touch down on the moon’sfar side. (The last US lunar lander, the crewed Apollo 17 mission, touched down in 1972.)

Chandrayaan-3 landing: India becomes the fourth country ever to land a spacecraft on the moon | CNN (5)

Shown here is an image of the lunar surface taken by the mission's Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera during the spacecraft's descent on Wednesday.

More than a dozen countries have plans for missions to the moon in the coming years, including a mission launched by Japan’s space agency — the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency — that is expected to lift off later this month. The United States also has plans to sendthree commercial lunar landersto the moon starting as early as this year, while NASA continues to work toward its Artemis III mission, which could put astronauts back on the moon as soon as 2025.

Landing on the moon, however, remains a challenging endeavor. India’s last attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon, during the 2019 Chandrayaan-2 mission, failed. And two commercial spacecraft have crash-landed on the lunar surface in recent times — one fromIsraelin 2019 and the other fromJapanin April.

“There is no doubt that landing on the Moon is a real challenge,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement on Sunday. “But the Moon offers great scientific reward, which is why we’ve seen so many recent attempts to visit the surface again. We’re looking forward to all that we will learn in the future, including from India’s Chandraayan-3 mission.”

On Wednesday, Nelson also shared a congratulatory note on social media, saying, “congratulations to #India on being the 4thcountry to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon. We’re glad to be your partner on this mission!”

India is also a signatory of the United States’ Artemis Accords, a document that outlines proposed rules of the road for future lunar exploration. Russia and China have not signed the accords.

CNN’s Irene Nasser contributed to this story.


Chandrayaan-3 landing: India becomes the fourth country ever to land a spacecraft on the moon | CNN? ›

India has landed its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the moon, becoming only the fourth nation ever to accomplish such a feat. The mission could cement India's status as a global superpower in space. Previously, only the United States, China and the former Soviet Union have completed soft landings on the lunar surface.

What will happen to Chandrayaan 3 after landing on moon? ›

Chandrayaan 3 successfully soft landed on the south pole of the moon on August 23 and the exit process of Pragyan rover which was in the belly of Vikram lander has begun. Now for the 14 days, which is equivalent to one lunar day, Pragyan will carry out a series of experiments on the surface of the moon.

What was the fourth country to land on the moon? ›

India on Wednesday became only the fourth country in the world to land a spacecraft on the moon, and the first to do so in the lunar south pole region.

Did India really go to the moon? ›

It's been an historic day for India, as it became the fourth country to land on the moon, after a failed attempt in 2019 and just days after a failed Russian lunar landing.

Is India the fourth country to land on moon? ›

India has become the fourth country – after Russia, the U.S. and China – to land on the moon and also the first to land on the moon's South Pole.

Is Chandrayaan-3 return to Earth? ›

The Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission is not designed for a return journey to Earth. Once the exploration concludes, the equipment will be left on the Moon. Chandrayaan-3 was launched on July 14, 2023, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Was Chandrayaan-3 successful? ›

On 23 August, after a nail-biting wait, ISRO confirmed that Chandrayaan-3's lander had successfully touched down in the Moon's southern polar region as planned.

How many countries land on moon? ›

Only four countries- the US, Russia (formerly the USSR), China, and India have successfully landed on the Moon using an impactor or a lander. A lander is a spacecraft designed to land on a celestial body while an impactor gets destroyed after landing.

Which country to land on moon? ›

Summary of how many countries have landed on the moon
CountryYear of First Landing
United States1969
India(Expected Soon)
20 hours ago

Who is the 1st country to land on moon? ›

India became the first country to land a spacecraft near the moon's south pole : NPR. India became the first country to land a spacecraft near the moon's south pole NPR's Leila Fadel speaks with the Jill Stuart, an expert in the politics and ethics of space exploration, about India's successful lunar landing.

How many Indians walked on the moon? ›

In 2022, the population of India stood at 1.4 billion people.

How many people have land on the moon in India? ›

Answer and Explanation: Unfortunately, the number of Indian astronauts or vyomanauts that have landed on the moon is zero. The first vyomanaut, Rakesh Sharma, was sent into space on the Russian spaceflight Soyuyz T-11 in April 1984.

Could a country claim the moon? ›

The Outer Space Treaty means therefore that - no matter whose national flags are planted on the lunar surface - no nation can 'own' the Moon.

Who has land on moon in India? ›

Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput also owns a land on the moon. In 2018, the late actor had purchased a piece of land on the far side of the moon called the Mare Muscoviense or the 'Sea of Muscovy.'

Where did India land on the moon? ›

India has reached the south pole of the moon — no other country has achieved that. We are witnessing history,” Modi said as he waved the Indian tri-colored flag while watching the landing from South Africa, where he is participating in the BRICS nations summit.

Which four countries have landed spacecraft on the moon? ›

India lands a spacecraft near the moon's south pole, a first for the world as it joins elite club. After a failed attempt in 2019, India now joins the United States, the Soviet Union and China as only the fourth country to land on the moon.

How long will Chandrayaan-3 stay on moon? ›

Chandrayaan means "moon vehicle" in Hindi and Sanskrit. The rover is expected to remain functional for two weeks, or one lunar day, the period of time its solar-powered equipment is built to last.

What's next for Chandrayaan-3? ›

The first mission to land near the lunar south pole is expected to keep going until the sun sets on the moon two weeks from now. The moon's south polar region has welcomed its very first visitor.

When rover will come out from lander Chandrayaan-3? ›

Zee Business Video Team | Updated: August 24, 2023 12:42 pm

The Pragyan Rover, which was carried by the Chandrayaan-3 lander, has rolled out and is now exploring the lunar surface.

Is Chandrayaan still active? ›

Ever since its launch on 14 July, ISRO has been maintaining that the health of the spacecraft remains “normal". The Moon's south pole region is also being explored because there could be a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it.


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