The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) unveiled the inaugural images of the Moon, taken by the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, marking a significant milestone in India’s third lunar mission. These captivating images were obtained after Chandrayaan-3 successfully entered the Moon’s orbit on Saturday.
The official Twitter handle of the mission shared the images, stating, “The Moon, as viewed by #Chandrayaan3 spacecraft during Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) on August 5, 2023.”
Launched on July 14 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft covered two-thirds of the distance to the Moon before successfully entering its Lunar orbit.
Mounted atop the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle, this mission underscores India’s capability to safely land and operate a spacecraft on the lunar surface, placing the country among the elite few nations – the US, China, and Russia – to achieve this feat.
Following its landing on the Moon, the spacecraft is slated to function for one lunar day, equivalent to approximately 14 Earth days.
Chandrayaan-3’s development commenced in January 2020, initially targeting a launch in 2021. However, the pandemic-induced disruptions brought unforeseen delays to the mission’s timeline.
With an approved budget of Rs 250 crore (excluding the launch vehicle cost), Chandrayaan-3 serves as ISRO’s second attempt to accomplish a soft landing on the lunar surface. Its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, encountered challenges during its 2019 mission, leading to a conclusion that it had not fully achieved its core objectives.