New Delhi, Aug 17 (EFE).- India’s space mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-3, entered its last stage on Thursday before its moon landing at the south pole, scheduled for Aug. 23, with the separation of the lander from the propulsion module.
“Thanks for the ride, mate!” Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) posted on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, to announce the successful separation of the Propulsion Module (PM) from the Landing Module (LM) that will now begin its approach to the Moon.
“LM is set to descend to a slightly lower orbit upon a deboosting planned for tomorrow around 1600 Hrs., IST,” it added.
The separation of the two modules came after the mission completed its final orbital maneuver to bring the spacecraft closer to the lunar surface yesterday, ISRO added.
On the successful completion of this mission, which kicked off on July 14, India would become the fourth country to manage to land a probe on the Moon, after the United States, Russia and China, and the first to reach its south pole.
However, the latter milestone could possibly be under threat from Russia’s Luna-25 mission, which took off from the Vostochny cosmodrome last week, and is expected to make a landing between Aug. 21-23.
The Chandrayaan-3 marks India’s third lunar exploration mission.
The south Asian nation launched its first space mission to the Moon in 2008, Chandrayaan-1, an orbiter that orbited the Earth’s natural satellite more than 3,400 times without landing between November 2008 and August 2009.
The probe discovered direct evidence of water on the Moon, and an analysis of measurements taken by the Chandrayaan-1 with a NASA measuring instrument confirmed in 2018 multiple ice reserves in the permanently shaded areas of the satellite, according to the US agency.
In 2019, ISRO attempted to land a probe at the south pole of the Moon with its second mission, Chandrayaan-2, but it crashed while landing due to technical problems. EFE