Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation launched its third lunar mission–Chandrayaan 3 on-board the heavylift LVM3-M4 rocket here on Friday.
At the end of the 25.30 hour countdown, the LVM3-M4 rocket, the largest and heaviest in its class and dubbed as ‘Fat Boy’ lifted off majestically at a prefixed time at 2.35 pm from the second launch pad, discharging thick plumes of smoke.
Thousands of spectators who had converged to witness the historic launch cheered the rocket as it made its ascent into the skies.
With the Chandrayaan-3 mission, scientists are aiming at mastering soft-landing on the lunar surface, a challenging technical aspect which is planned for late August. A successful mission would make India only the fourth country to achieve the rare feat after the United States, China and the former Soviet Union.
Chandrayaan 3 follows the Chandrayaan 2 mission which did not achieve the desired soft landing on the surface of the moon in 2019, disappointing the scientists.
According to ISRO officials, around 16 minutes after lift-off, the propulsion module will separate from the rocket and would orbit the earth for about 5-6 times in an elliptical cycle with 170 km closest and 36,500 km farthest from earth moving towards the lunar orbit.
The propulsion module along with the lander, after gaining speed would proceed for an over a month long journey towards reaching the orbit of the moon until it goes 100 km above the lunar surface.
After reaching the desired altitude, the lander module would begin its descent for a soft landing on the south pole region of the moon and this action is expected to take place on August 23 or 24, scientists at ISRO said.