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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Chandrayaan-3 will be launched in mid-July: ISRO Chairman

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman S. Somnath on Thursday said that the space agency is planning to launch the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission in the middle of July.

Speaking to reporters at the SMOPS-2023 International Conference on Spacecraft Mission Operations, Mr. Somnath said, “Mission Chandrayaan-3 is nearing its launch. We have already moved the Chandrayaan-3 satellite from UR Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru to Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The initial operations of checking the satellites — both the propulsion module that’s the orbiter part and the lander plus rover is going on now.”

He added that the launch vehicle for the mission, LVM 3, has also reached the launch port. “We are in the checking and testing phase. Integration of the launch vehicle will happen this month end. The rocket will be fully ready and we will be assembling Chandrayaan 3 to the rocket in the beginning of July. The launch is in the middle of July,” he added.

Mr. Somnath said that following the launch, as in the case of India’s previous moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, the orbital raising will take place and the lander and orbiter will orbit the moon before touching down on the moon.

He said ISRO has added more fuel to the lander along with new equipment and also strengthened it. He added that the Chandrayaan-3 will be going in the same path as its predecessor and will also be landing on the same landing site.

On Gaganyaam delay

The ISRO chief said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic the space agency could not launch the Gaganyaan mission in 2022 as intended.

“We do not want to rush, the primary objective of the human space mission is ‘sure shot safe mission’. We have redefined the mission in such a way that we will achieve success in the very first attempt. For that we have enhanced testing and demonstrations which involve abort missions,” Mr Somnath said.

He said that the first abort mission may happen in August and another one later this year followed by an unmanned mission possibly by the beginning of next year.

“LVM human rating has been successfully completed; industries are delivering crew modules. For me there are eight major tests and all of them are successfully happening without any glitch. So we will be able to launch the mission in 2024-25,” he said.

On Aditya-L1 which is the first Indian space mission to observe the Sun and the solar corona, he said the launch window for the mission is in August and if ISRO cannot launch it by then, it will have to wait for another year.

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