Aerospace And Defense

India Becomes First Country to Land Near Moon's South Pole with Chandrayaan-3!

21 Sep, 2023 | Statistics

Only a small number of countries and political organizations have Successfully launched missions to the moon, its orbit,or its vicinity. This timeline spans from the historic space competition between the US and USSR in the middle of the 20th century to the present and is highlighted by the participation of emerging national and private space entities.

Moon missions and achievements

With a stunning 42 successful or somewhat successful lunar missions between 1959-2022, the U.S. is leading the way. 22 such missions were carried out by the USSR, a significant rival in the early space race, between 1959 and 1976. With its Chang'e program, China, a more recent challenger, had a considerable impact, with success or partial success in all eight missions. India has also advanced the exploration of the moon significantly. India's first successful lunar orbit and imoactor occurred with the Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008.

Chandrayaan-2 attempted a soft landing in 2019 with a lander and rover, but ran into problems that caused the lander to lose contact upon a hard landing. However, the orbiter kept sending data. India's monumental achievement came with the Chandrayaan-3 mission, which accomplished a soft landing on the moon's rugged south pole. This made India the fourth country ever to land on the moon, and more importantly, the first to land a spacecraft near the moon's south pole. Following the failure of Russia's Luna-25 mission, this was India's second attempt to land on the moon.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission utilized a "failure-based design," drawing on the 2019 mission's experiences, which included expanding the landing zone. The project had the pragyan rover onto the lander and had a overall budget of $75 million (615 crores). The rover was planned to be deployed "within hours" of the successful landing. Moreover, with a budget of about 386 crores ($52 million), Chandrayaan -1 had the lowest cost, followed by Beresheet with a budget of 1000 crores ($100 million) and Lunar prospector (NASA) with a budget of 472.5 crores ($63 million).

Stock surge and upcoming lunar missions

The goal of lunar exploration has also had an impact on the economy. Stock prices of Indian companies active in the space industry increased significantly. The market value of about 13 companies increased by more than $2.5 billion this week, including Linde India, Centum Electronics, Avantel, and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The shares of Centum Electronics rose 11% and concluded 14.51% higher at 1,648 while Linde India's shares rose 23% and closed at 5,923. The stock of satellite communication company Avantel increased more than 12% to close at 235. HAL, the company that created the Lander Module "Vikram," increased its value by 3.5%.

Considering the future, various nations and commercial organizations have announced upcoming missions. In August 2023, Japan's JAXA plans to launch the SLIM (Small Lunar Lander). Similarly, NASA's ambitious projects include the Lunar Trailblazer, Prime 1, and Griffin Mission 1 (VIPER) in 2023 and 2024. With a focus on sample return, lunar survey, and technology testing, the Chang'e 6, Chang'e 7, and Chang'e 8 missions are being planned by China National Space Administration(CNSA). This fascinating plan for lunar exploration is completed with the NASA Draper mission in 2025 and the technology test cubesats from cislunar explorers.

In addition to advancing science, lunar missions have economic repercussions. As we look to the future, ambitious projects from numerous nations and organizations promise to reveal new aspects of the Moon and broaden our cosmic perspective.

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