Chandrayaan-3 Moon landing live updates: After a 40-day journey starting from the Sathish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 mission is now preparing to land. If all goes well, the Vikram lander should make a soft lunar landing at 6.04 PM IST on August 23. You can watch a live stream of the landing below.
ISRO plans to initiate the mission’s automatic landing sequence at 5.44 PM IST. From this point onwards, the Vikram lander will use its onboard computers and logic to try to make a soft landing on the Moon. While mission controllers at ISTRAC will monitor it closely, the onboard systems of the lander will be doing all the heavy lifting.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission is the follow-up to the Chandrayaan-2 mission of 2019, when the Vikram lander crashed into the lunar surface. The primary objective of the mission is simple—showcase the space agency’s capability to complete a soft-landing on the Moon. If the mission succeeds, India will join a small and exclusive club of countries that have managed to soft land on the Moon. So far, the club has three members—the United States, the Soviet Union and China.
The four phases at the end
The last few minutes of the Moon landing were referred to as the “15 minutes of terror” by K Sivan, chairperson of ISRO during Chandrayaan-2. Those 15 minutes will remain equally as crucial and nerve-wracking during the Chandrayaan-3 mission and comprises four phases:
- Rough braking phase: During this phase, the lander’s horizontal velocity should reduce from around 6,000 kilometres per hour to near zero for a soft landing.
- Attitude holding phase: At a height of around 7.43 kilometres above the lunar surface, the lander will tilt from a horizontal to a vertical position while covering a distance of 3.48 kilometres.
- Fine breaking phase: This will last around 175 seconds during which time the lander will travel about 28.52 kilometres horizontally to the landing site while reducing the altitude by around 1 kilometre. Chandrayaan-2 lost control between the Attitude hold and fine-braking phases.
- Terminal descent: This is the final stage when the fully vertical lander should drop down on the Moon’s surface.