All you need to Know About Chandrayaan-3

By becoming the first mission to successfully land on the lunar south pole, Chandrayaan-3 has accomplished a significant milestone in the recent history of space exploration. This historic mission achieved a soft landing on the Lunar South Pole on August 23, 2023. India is now the first nation to achieve a soft landing on the Lunar South Pole and the fourth overall on the Moon. 

The mission launched on July 14, 2023, from Sriharikota using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (LVM3).

What Exactly is the Chandrayaan 3 Mission?

The Chandrayaan 3 Mission represents a remarkable endeavor in space exploration, using the advanced LVM3 rocket system. This innovative launch vehicle, developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), boasts the exceptional capability to precisely position modules into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) while maintaining a cost-effective approach.

The LVM3 is the central element of the Chandrayaan 3 mission. It is a three-stage launch vehicle that consists of two solid strap stages and one core liquid stage. The LVM3 M4 rocket system has been meticulously designed and plays a crucial part in ensuring the successful completion of the mission.

The LVM3 rocket system's notable achievement: Precisely positioning integrated modules into an Elliptic Parking Orbit, approximately 170 x 36500 km in size, a critical step for establishing the necessary trajectory for GTO deployment.

Objectives of Chandrayaan-3 Mission

1. To show a soft and safe landing on the Moon's surface.

2. To demonstrate Rover wandering on the moon 

3. Conducting scientific experiments in real time.

Components of the Chandrayaan 3 Mission

The Chandrayaan-3 Mission comprises two crucial modules: the Propulsion Module (PM) and the Lander Module (LM). These modules collectively account for a total mass of 3900 kg, with the Propulsion Module weighing 2148 kg and the Lander Module tipping the scales at 1752 kg, including the Rover, which adds an additional 26 kg.

Propulsion Module

The Propulsion Module was crucial in transporting the lander and rover to a lunar orbit 100 km above the moon's surface. In addition to its transportation function, it is also equipped with a scientific payload called Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE).

The SHAPE payload has a specific purpose: 

To conduct innovative spectro-polarimetric research on Earth from its position in lunar orbit. Its goal is to look for potentially habitable planets in the universe by studying the reflected light of smaller planets.

Lander Module

The Lander Module is the central part of the mission, which accommodates both the Rover (named Pragyan) and the Lander (Vikram). It carried out a smooth landing on the lunar surface by flawlessly executing the Automatic Landing Sequence (ALS). This sequence involved starting the Lander's engine (thrusters), which allowed for accurate control over the Module's speed, direction, and landing location.

Sl No.ParameterSpecifications
1.Mission Life (Lander & Rover)One lunar day (~14 Earth days)
2.Landing Site (Prime)4 km x 2.4 km 69.367621 S, 32.348126 E
3.Science PayloadsLander:
  1. Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA)
  2. Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE)
  3. Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA)
  4. Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) Rover:
  5. Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS)
  6. Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) Propulsion Module:
  7. Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE)
4.Two Module Configuration
  1. Propulsion Module (Carries Lander from launch injection to Lunar orbit)
  2. Lander Module (Rover is accommodated inside the Lander)
  1. Propulsion Module: 2148 kg
  2. Lander Module: 1752 kg, including Rover of 26 kg
  3. Total: 3900 kg
6.Power generation
  1. Propulsion Module: 758 W
  2. Lander Module: 738W, WS with Bias
  3. Rover: 50W

Budget for Chandrayaan-3:

ISRO's third lunar mission has been given a budget of 615 crores. However, this is less than the budget of Chandrayaan 2, which failed due to its Vikram lander despite reaching a lunar orbit. Chandrayaan 2 was released at a budget of Rs. 960 crores.

Why south pole?

Scientists and space professionals have long been interested in the lunar South Pole. Extreme, contrasting conditions make it difficult for people from Earth to land, live, and work there, but the area's special features hold promise for ground-breaking deep-space scientific discoveries that could help us understand our place in the universe and travel further into the solar system, according to NASA.
There is a chance that there is water at the South Pole, according to experts. Water ice has been discovered at the lunar poles, according to space and aerospace specialist Girish Linganna, who spoke with The Week. The South Pole is said to have more water ice because it has a larger region that is permanently in the shade and is colder.

It is difficult to explore the South Pole. The challenging terrain and chilly temps present additional challenges. The South Pole contains several locations where sunlight cannot reach since the area is completely black. Additionally, the temperature can drop as low as 230 degrees Celsius. Instrument operation is hampered by the absence of sunlight and bitterly cold temperatures. The South Pole is home to several sizable craters, some of which are only a few centimeters across while others span thousands of kilometers.

Shiv Shakti Point:Chandrayaan-3 address on moon
The landing site, officially named Shiv Shakti Point, was aptly christened on August 26, 2023. The name 'Shiv Shakti' is derived from two Hindu deities - Shiva and Shakti. The mythology behind it portrays them as the cosmic masculine and divine feminine energy that come together to signify creation, sustenance, and transformation.
Situated at 69.367621°S 32.348126°E, Shiv Shakti Point is strategically located between the Manzinus C and Simpelius N craters, offering a unique opportunity for lunar exploration and scientific breakthroughs.

Significant Lunar Landing Sites by Indian Missions

Lunar SiteNameDate of NamingCoordinatesContext
Jawahar PointNear Shackleton CraterNov 14, 200889.76°S 39.40°WMoon Impact Probe's crash-landing, named on Jawaharlal Nehru's birthday
Tiranga PointNear South PoleAug 26, 202370.8810°S 22.7840°EChandrayaan-2's lander Vikram crash site, named "Tiranga" (Indian tricolour)
Shiv Shakti PointSouth PoleAug 26, 202369.367621°S 32.348126°EChandrayaan-3's successful soft landing, named after India's achievement

Significance of the Chandrayaan 3 Mission

The Chandrayaan-3 mission carries substantial importance for several key reasons:

  1. Advancement in Lunar Exploration: Chandrayaan-3 represents a significant step forward in India's lunar exploration endeavors, building upon the achievements of prior missions, notably Chandrayaan-1 and 2.
  2. Strategic Collaboration with JAXA: The successful execution of Chandrayaan-3 is poised to yield fruitful collaborations with renowned space agencies such as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), potentially contributing to future lunar exploration missions like LUPEX or Chandrayaan-4.
  3. Scientific Advancements: Equipped with specialized instruments, the mission contributes to scientific progress by studying moonquakes, subsurface heat dynamics, and lunar geology, significantly enhancing our comprehension of celestial bodies.
  4. Promoting Space Education: The mission aims to advance space education and inspire the scientific community and future generations of space enthusiasts in India.
  5. Strengthening India's Position in the Artemis Accord: India's inclusion as a member of the Artemis Accords, a U.S.-led initiative aimed at lunar exploration and broader space exploration efforts in the solar system, has been solidified by the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission. India now has the opportunity to take a leading role among fellow Artemis nations, working alongside the United States.
  6. Lunar Surface Insights: Chandrayaan-3's lander and rover are studying the moon's rocks, soil, minerals, and water, shedding light on lunar history and surface changes caused by asteroid impacts.
  7. Boosting Private Investment: Successful missions like Chandrayaan-3 boost investor confidence and attract more private investment in India's aerospace technology sector.
  8. Supporting Innovative Startups: Chandrayaan-3's accomplishments can serve as a technological showcase, amplifying India's standing within the global space community. This, in turn, may attract joint ventures and business prospects for Indian startups to participate in the development of space systems for the international market.
  9. Advancement for Gaganyaan and Aditya L-1 Missions:The utilization of the LVM-3 launch vehicle for the Chandrayaan-3 mission, known as India's heaviest launch vehicle, not only ensures the successful launch of Chandrayaan-3 but also paves the way for upcoming missions like Gaganyaan and Aditya L-1, both of which will be launched using the dependable LVM-3 rocket.

Key Difference Between Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3

Lander SetupChandrayaan-2 included the Vikram Lander and Pragyaan Rover.Chandrayaan-3 comprises a separate Lander Module (LM), Propulsion Module (PM), and a rover.
CamerasChandrayaan-2 had one lander hazard detection and avoidance camera.Chandrayaan-3 features two more robust lander hazard detection and avoidance cameras.
Site of LandingChandrayaan-2 aimed for a landing near the lunar south pole, particularly in the South Polar Region-Highland Fractured Terrain.Chandrayaan-3 didn't have a fixed landing site; artificial intelligence was employed to choose the landing site based on data from the enhanced landing cameras.
PayloadChandrayaan-2 didn't carry a specific payload.Chandrayaan-3 is equipped with a payload named SHAPE (Spectro Polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth).
Designing strategyChandrayaan-2 followed a success-based design approach.Chandrayaan-3 adopted a failure-based design philosophy, ensuring a soft landing even in the event of sensor and electronics failures.
Target Area of LandingChandrayaan-2 targeted an area of 500 X 500 meters.Chandrayaan-3 expanded its target area to 4 km X 2.4 km, offering the lander more options to autonomously select the best landing site.
OrbiterChandrayaan-2 successfully placed its orbiter.Chandrayaan-3 does not carry a separate orbiter and utilizes the orbiter from Chandrayaan-2.


The Indian space sector has great untapped potential that can be realized through effective government policies. A proactive approach will instill confidence in the private sector and position the country as a leader in the global space industry.

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