Bengaluru: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief S. Somanath on Tuesday said that Vikram, the lander of India’s third lunar mission Chandrayaan-3, is due to make a soft landing on the surface of the Moon on August 23 and will do this even in case of engine failure.
Participating in a talk on “Chandrayaan-3: Bharat’s Pride Space Mission” organised by NGO Disha Bharat, he maintained that the soft landing will be ensured even if all the sensors and two of its engines fail to work.
The biggest challenge before the ISRO team is to make a horizontal Vikram land vertically on the lunar surface, he added.
“Once the lander separates from the orbiter, it will move horizontally. Following a series of manoeuvres, the Vikram will be brought to a vertical stance to ensure safe landing on Moon,” Somnath stated.
“The ability to transfer from horizontal to vertical direction is the trick that has to be played. Here only we had problems last time,” he added.
The ISRO had failed to get its lander touchdown safely on the Moon’s surface during Chandrayaan-2 endeavour, the ISRO chief said, adding that the design of the lander ‘Vikram’ is made to ensure that it handles the failures.
“If everything fails, all sensors stop working and nothing works, still Vikram, the lander will make a soft-landing provided that propulsion system works well,” he said.
The mission Chandrayan-3 began on July 14 and after blasted into space, it entered lunar orbit on August 5. There will be three more de-orbiting manoeuvres on August 9, 14, and 16 till its orbit reduces to 100 km x 100 km from the Moon.
This will be done to bring it closer to the Moon, so that it lands on the surface of the Moon on August 23. A lander propulsion module separation exercise would be launched subsequently soon after lander deboost, a process which slows down the craft, which will be followed by landing on lunar surface on August 23, the ISRO chief said.
He also maintained that it is a challenge to ensure that lesser fuel is consumed. The ISRO team this time ensured that Vikram makes an attempt for proper landing even as there are some variations in calculations, he added.