On June 14 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) will attempt to launch Chandrayaan-3, the ambitious expedition to the Moon. Isro plans to launch the spacecraft at 2:35 pm on Friday, April 12, when the Moon will be perfectly aligned with the planet. The launch will take place onboard the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM-III), which has the spacecraft rolled out on the launchpad.
After Isro’s Chandrayaan-2 mission was unsuccessful four years ago, Chandrayaan-3 will make a second attempt at a soft landing on the Moon’s surface. After being launched into lunar orbit, the spacecraft, which is outfitted with a lander and rover, will separate from the Propulsion Module. If the launch takes place on July 14, Chandrayaan-3 should arrive at the Moon at the end of August. By August 23 or 24, the spacecraft might have travelled to the Moon for 45–48 days.
The spacecraft will perform a series of orbit-reducing manoeuvres to gradually reduce its height and enter a spherical orbit around the Moon after it enters the Moon’s gravitational field. It is referred to as Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI), and it entails precise engine firings to slow the spacecraft down and enable it to be drawn in by the gravity of the Moon. Isro will start the landing sequence after entering lunar orbit, which will involve the mission disengaging from the Propulsion Module and the lander-rover combo landing on the lunar surface.