An unmanned rocket was successfully launched to the moon by the Indian Space Agency.
The launching was an attempt at making a soft landing to get a lunar rover onto the moon’s south pole, which represents a monumental moment in India’s space journey.
Named Chandrayaan-2, the rocket departed from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 14:43 local time (09:13 BST) and was noted as the second attempt to successfully launch a rocket into space.
Their first effort which was on the 15th of July had a technical snag which resulted in a cancellation.
This could set India in 4th place when it comes to lunar landings, just behind China, the USA and the former Soviet Union.
The rocket comprises of three parts – a lunar orbiter, lunar rover and a landing module, weighing in at 3.8 tons.
All of this technology was developed through the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The rocket’s entire journey will compromise of a 2 month journey util it orbits the moon’s atmosphere.
The lander is named after Vikram Sarabhai, a legend of Indian space exploration. The main body of the rocket will separate from the lander and attempt landing as close to the moon’s southernmost point.
If this all goes according to plan, the rover named Pragyan (which means wisdom) will spend a lunar day (14 earth days) on the surface, conducting various experiments and gathering mineral and chemical samples.
ISRO said in a statement:
“While there, we will also explore discoveries made by [the mission prior to this latest one] Chandrayaan-1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition.
Through this mission, we aim to expand India’s footprint in space, surpass international aspirations and inspire a future generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.”
Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, the head of the Indian nuclear and space policy initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, said:
“India wants to show, especially since Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi came into office, that India is a major power, and that India has to be treated as a major Indo-Pacific power,”
Chandrayaan-3 will follow up on this mission, aiming to land on the moon again by 2023/2024.
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