India’s unmanned spacecraft landed safely on the moon on Wednesday.
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called this success as historic day for the world’s most populous country, joining the club of the few countries that have succeeded in Landing on the moon after four years of a failed attempt.
The mission technicians met with cheers of joy and applause the announcement of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) at its headquarters that the vehicle “Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed on the surface of the moon” at 12:34 GMT.
Chandrayaan- (meaning the lunar module in Sanskrit) landed days after the Russian Luna-25 probe crashed in the same region near the unexplored south pole of the moon, in a setback that came decades after the Soviet Union succeeded in a similar mission in 1976.
This success of the Indian space program comes four years after the failure of a previous Indian mission, with which the ground team lost contact before it reached the moon.
“On this auspicious occasion, I would like to address the people of the world… India’s successful mission to the moon is not just a mission for India alone,” Modi said on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in South Africa, waving an Indian flag… This success is dominated by all of humanity”.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission has captured public attention since it was launched nearly six weeks ago in front of thousands of spectators.
Politicians held Hindu ritual prayers for the success of the mission, and schoolchildren watched the last moments of the landing via live broadcast in the classrooms.
The Chandrayaan-3, developed by the Indian Space Research Organization, includes the lander “Vikram” (bravery in Sanskrit) and the mobile robot “Pergyan” (wisdom) to explore the lunar surface.
Once the vehicle lands, the robot, a solar-powered rover, will begin to explore the surface and transmit data back to Earth for two weeks.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission is slower than the US manned Apollo missions of the sixties and seventies, which reached the moon within a few days.
The Indian missile is less powerful than the Saturn 5 missile used in the US Apollo lunar program.
It had to circle the Earth several times to increase its speed before making its path towards the moon, which took a month.
Vikram separated from the booster rocket last week and has been transmitting pictures of the lunar surface since it entered orbit on August 5.
The budget of the Indian space program remains modest, although it has increased significantly since the first attempt to put a probe into lunar orbit in 2008.
The cost of this Indian mission is $74.6 million, according to Indian media, which much less compared to the missions of other countries.
According to industry experts, India manages to keep costs down by copying and adapting existing space technology for its own purposes thanks to an abundance of qualified engineers who receive much lower wages than their foreign counterparts.
The previous attempt to land on the moon in 2019, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the first mission of US astronaut Neil Armstrong, cost $ 140 million, almost double the cost of the current mission.
India was the first Asian country to put a satellite into Mars orbit in March.
It’s supposed to send a manned three-day mission into Earth orbit by next year.
The former head of the Indian Space Agency, K. Sivan said India’s efforts to explore the moon’s South Pole would be a very significant contribution to scientific knowledge.
India thus joined only three countries that preceded it to this achievement of successfully landing unmanned vehicles on the surface of the moon, namely Russia, the United States and China.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first to congratulate the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the successful landing of the Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-3 on the moon, days after the failure of a similar Russian mission.
“This is a big step forward in the exploration of outer space and, of course, a testament to the impressive progress that India has made in the fields of science and technology,” Putin said in a message.
From its part, the Russian space agency RosCosmos congratulated India.
RosCosmos said in a statement that it congratulates its Indian colleagues on the successful landing of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft… Lunar exploration is important for all of humanity… In the future, it can become a platform for deep space exploration”.
Last week, Russia failed in its first mission to the Moon since 1976, after the Luna-25 probe crashed on the surface of Earth’s closest neighbor.
Nearly fifty years after Moscow’s last successful lunar mission, the Luna-25 probe, which weighs about 800 kilograms, crashed into the lunar surface on Saturday following an accident during a pre-landing maneuver.
RosCosmos director Yuri Borisov appealed to President Putin to continue the lunar exploration program despite this failure, while the Russian space sector has been suffering from problems for years.
In recent years, a new race to the moon has begun. In addition to the United States, China, India and South Korea aspire to send vehicles to him.