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Behind the Scenes: How ISRO's Chandrayaan 3 Impressed Aviation Experts

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At 09:05 UTC on July 14, 2023, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre Second Launch Pad in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, India, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the country's space agency, successfully launched Chandrayaan-3, its third lunar mission. The mission entered an Earth parking orbit with a perigee of 170 km (106 mi) and an apogee of 36,500 km (22,680 mi). The expedition has received plaudits from aviation professionals worldwide, demonstrating India's increasing expertise in space exploration. This article explores Chandrayaan 3's technical details and highlights the salient characteristics that have pleased the aviation community.


A Recap of Chandrayaan 3's Mission Objectives


The triumph of Chandrayaan 1 and Chandrayaan 2 is built upon in Chandrayaan 3. Chandrayaan 3 is primarily focused on accomplishing a soft landing and deploying a rover, in contrast to Chandrayaan 2, which attempted to achieve a soft landing on the lunar surface but faced an obstacle. The main objectives of the expedition are:


•Soft Landing: The successful landing of the lander module, Vikram-S, on the lunar surface is a significant achievement. This paves the way for future missions involving deploying rovers and scientific instruments.


•Deployment and Operation of Rover: The Sanskrit word for "wisdom" inspired the name of the mission's rover, Pragyan, which is equipped with a variety of scientific tools. In order to investigate the composition of the lunar soil, variations in temperature, and possible indications of water ice, these devices will be placed on the lunar surface.


•Lunar South Pole Exploration: The lunar south pole, which has craters that are continually shaded and is of scientific significance, is the goal of Chandrayaan 3. Water ice deposits, an essential resource for upcoming lunar settlements, might be present in these craters.


Technical Innovations that Impressed Aviation Experts


Several technical aspects of Chandrayaan 3 have impressed aviation experts. Here's a closer look at some of the key features:


•Landing Module Design: The lander module, Vikram-S, is built tough to survive the hostile lunar environment. Thrusters are used for navigating, and a landing propulsion system is in place to ensure a soft touchdown. When descending, the lander can detect and steer clear of obstacles by using a terrain mapping radar.


•Fuel Efficiency: The mission utilizes an indigenous engine, the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), known for its fuel efficiency. This engine reduces mission costs and allows for a larger payload capacity.


•Rover Capabilities: The rover, Pragyan, is a small, nimble six-wheeled vehicle. It has a robotic arm for installing research instruments and gathering soil samples from the moon. The rover can navigate the irregular lunar surface thanks to its sophisticated suspension system.


•Communication System: A highly developed communication relay system is used by Chandrayaan 3 to stay in touch with the lander and rover on the Moon. For the purpose of returning telemetry and scientific data to Earth stations, this mechanism is essential. ISRO's Deep Space Network (DSN) is essential to mission communication.


Challenges Overcome by ISRO


The success of Chandrayaan 3 signifies ISRO's ability to overcome significant challenges. Some of the hurdles tackled by the space agency include:


•Landing on the Lunar Surface: The process of landing on the moon is difficult and demands exact navigation and propulsion control. The landing technology for Chandrayaan 3 was improved by ISRO's experience with Chandrayaan 2.


•Developing Indigenous Technologies: By creating its own space technologies, ISRO has significantly decreased its reliance on imports. Chandrayaan 3's utilization of the LAM engine and other homegrown technologies is evidence of this advancement.


•Communication Over Long Distances: Maintaining communication with a spacecraft on the Moon poses challenges due to the vast distance. ISRO's advancements in deep space communication have ensured smooth data flow between the mission and Earth.


The Impact of Chandrayaan 3 on India's Space Program


The successful launch and landing of Chandrayaan 3 mark a significant milestone for India's space program. The mission's achievements have several positive implications:


•Enhanced Global Reputation: India's standing as a major force in space exploration is cemented with the launch of Chandrayaan 3. This accomplishment opens the door for next multinational space mission collaborations.


•Boost for STEM Education: Students in India become more interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects as a result of the mission. It acts as an inspiration for future engineers and scientists.


•Technological Advancements: Innovation in fields including robotics, propulsion systems, and communication technology is encouraged by the mission. These developments may find use in fields other than space exploration.


Looking Ahead: What's Next for ISRO's Lunar Exploration?


ISRO's lunar exploration program is on a roll, especially after the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 in August 2023. Here's a glimpse into what's next:


Upcoming Missions: 

ISRO has two exciting missions in the pipeline:


•Lupex (Lunar Polar Exploration): This mission aims to send a lander to the unexplored lunar south pole. It will focus on studying the permanently shadowed regions that could potentially hold water ice.


•Chandrayaan-4: The goal of this large-scale project is to bring back lunar samples to Earth. This will be a big step forward, giving researchers the ability to examine lunar material in-depth in laboratories to learn more about the composition and past of the Moon.


Focus Areas:  

ISRO's future lunar missions will likely concentrate on:


Resource Utilization: Studying the potential of lunar resources like water ice for future exploration and even establishing a permanent human presence.

Unveiling Lunar Secrets: Further exploring the Moon's polar regions, its geological history, and the possibility of past volcanic activity.

International Collaboration:  India is willing to work on its lunar missions with foreign space organizations. This can support scientific objectives and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources.


By making these moves, ISRO will be in a position to play a significant role in lunar exploration and help us understand our nearest star.

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Behind the Scenes: How ISRO's Chandrayaan 3 Impressed Aviation Experts