New Delhi, Aug 22 (EFE).- India’s ambitious space mission, Chandrayaan-3, is all set to execute its lunar landing maneuver on Wednesday on the unexplored south pole of the moon days after Russia’s Luna-25 mission crashed on the Moon’s surface.
“The mission is on schedule. Systems are undergoing regular checks. Smooth sailing is continuing,” the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said on Tuesday as its spacecraft was concluding its final orbits before the critical landing phase.
ISRO also shared images of the moon captured by the Lander Position Detection Camera (LPDC) from an altitude of approximately 70 kilometers.
With just one day remaining before the landing maneuver, ISRO said that “the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) is buzzed with energy and excitement!”
The spacecraft’s lander, named Vikram, is set to initiate its descent to the lunar surface from an altitude of 25km.
This 20-minute landing maneuver has been dubbed as “20 Minutes of Terror” in the India media.
“The most critical part of the landing is the process of bringing down the velocity of the lander when it begins its descent from a height of 30 kms to the final landing (position),” ISRO chief Sreedhara Somanath recently told local media.
He explained that the ability to transfer the spacecraft from horizontal to vertical direction is the pivotal challenge, as it was the point of failure during the Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019.
Since taking off on Jul. 14, the Indian mission had been in a kind of space race against the Russian mission Luna-25 – which took off on Aug. 11 – to be the first to reach the lunar South Pole.
However, With the Russian probe crashing against the Moon’s surface on Sunday during its landing attempt, the Indian mission now stands as the sole contender to touch down on the unexplored south pole of the moon.
In 2019, Chandrayaan-3’s predecessor had also crashed on the Moon due to technical problems while trying to attempt a soft landing.
If successful, the Indian probe, which includes a landing module and a rover, will conduct scientific experiments, collect data on the Moon’s mineral composition and verify the potential presence of water on the South Pole of the satellite. EFE