India attempted to become the fourth nation, after China, the United States, and Russia, to complete a controlled lunar landing on Friday by launching the Chandrayaan-3 rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
Television images captured the launch of the LVM3 launch rocket by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from the nation’s primary spaceport in the southern state, leaving behind a plume of smoke and fire.
Around August 23, the Chandrayaan-3 mission is expected to send out a lander and rover close to the south pole of the moon.
It will run for one lunar day after landing, which is equivalent to 14 days on Earth.
The United States, the former Soviet Union, and China are the only other space agencies to have successfully landed a lander on the moon. None of them have come close to the lunar South Pole.
The third Chandrayaan, whose name translates to “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, consists of a 2-meter-tall lander intended to place a rover close to the lunar South Pole, where it will undertake several experiments for two weeks.
A successful orbiter was delivered by ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2mission in 2020, but its lander and rover were lost in a crash not far from the site of Chandrayan-3’s attempted touchdown.