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HomeScienceISRO's Chandrayaan-3 mission may get launch in June 2023: Chairman Dr Somnath

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 mission may get launch in June 2023: Chairman Dr Somnath

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Dr S Somanath has said that it is likely to launch its Chandrayaan-3 mission in June next year.

“Chandrayaan-3 is almost ready. Final integration and testing are almost complete. Still, some more tests are pending, so we want to do it a little later. There were two slots available one in February and another in June. We would like to take June (2023) slot for the launch,” ISRO Chairman said.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission is a follow-up of the Chandrayaan-2 of July 2019. The mission aimed to land a rover on the moon’s South Pole. However, lander Vikram ended up crash-landing on 7 September 2019 and prevented rover Pragyaan from successfully travelling on the surface of the moon. Had the mission been successful, it would have been the first time a country landed its rover on the moon in its maiden attempt.

Dr S Somanath was addressing the media after 36 communication satellites were launched in the heaviest rocket of ISRO, LVM3-M2/OneWeb India-1 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota on Sunday.

“16 out of 36 satellites have been successfully separated safely, and the remaining 20 satellites will be separated,” he said.

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a central public sector enterprise under the Department of Space, had earlier signed two launch service contracts with Bharti-backed OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company.

“We have already started the (Diwali) celebration. 16 out of 36 satellites have successfully separated safely, and the remaining 20 satellites will be separated. The data will come a little later and the operation of observing is underway,” ISRO Chairman said post-launch.

Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this milestone, S Somanath said, “It is a historic mission. It has been possible because of PM Modi’s support as he wanted LVM3 to come into the commercial market, with NSIL in the forefront, to operationalise our launch vehicles for exploring and expanding the commercial domain.”)

On Sunday, the 43.5 metre tall rocket soared majestically at 12.07 am from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at the end of the 24-hour countdown.

The mission assumes significance as this was LVM3’s maiden commercial mission and also NSIL’s first with the said launch vehicle.

According to ISRO, the mission has the heaviest payloads with 36 satellites of OneWeb, becoming the first Indian rocket with a payload of 5,796 kg.

The launch is also first for LVM3-M2 to place the satellites in the Low Earth Orbit (up to 1,200 kms above the earth) unlike Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

ISRO scientists have rechristened the launch vehicle its present name from GSLV-MKK III as the newest rocket is capable of launching 4,000 kilogram class of satellites into GTO and 8,000 kgs of payloads into LEO.

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