Chandrayaan 3: India’s Nail-Biting Moon Landing Unveiled

Chandrayaan-3: India's Nail-Biting Moon Landing Unveiled

For a duration of 18 minutes (that’s how much time the landing procedure actually took), an entire country anxiously held its breath together.

Around 6 in the evening, S Somanath, who is in charge of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), felt a sense of achievement. He stood up from his chair at ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru’s Peenya industrial area. He shared a smile with the nervous people nearby and gave a reassuring nod to acknowledge that the mission had been accomplished.

Two minutes later, at the place where he and his team were keeping an eye on Chandrayaan-3 as it came down to land on the moon, everyone started cheering and clapping loudly. A few minutes after that, Somanath took a microphone and said just five words, which made the clapping and cheering even louder.

“India is on the moon!”

Until that time, the air in the big room was full of nervousness. The process of landing had been planned ahead, but many things could go wrong, just like what happened four years ago. Back then, Chandrayaan-2, the earlier version of the current mission Chandrayaan-3, had its landing part crash onto the moon’s surface.

Learning from the Past

The team came together, brushed off any difficulties, and began their work. As Somanath talked about it in an interview before the launch, they made sure they had extra plans ready, just in case things didn’t go as they hoped.

Not just them. For 18 minutes (that’s how long the landing took), a whole country held its breath together. Earlier on the same day, people said prayers in their places of worship all around the country; school kids talked about space and their dreams; and nothing else seemed to be important.

Historic Moments in Space

The last time a whole country got really excited about making big steps in space was when the United States landed on the moon in 1969. Something similar happened in India on Wednesday.

Chandrayaan 3 Massive Virtual Audience

Over 60 million people watched a pretend version of the moment the spacecraft landed on the space agency’s website. Many more did the same on TV channels and news websites showing the exact same thing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was at the Brics Summit in Johannesburg, joined the group watching from afar at Isro. When Somanath made the announcement, Modi waved the Indian flag with happiness.

“To be witness to such a historic event is a great blessing…It is only the beginning for India, we now have to claim success with missions to the sun and Venus, among many more,” he expressed

Later, in a phone call with the boss of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), Modi said “Your name itself is associated with the moon (Somanath means the lord of the moon), and today you have helped India raise our flag on the moon. Your family will be proud of you, as is every Indian.”

Chandrayaan 3 Leadership and Teamwork

That’s exactly what happened. Away from the center, folks came together with flowers and boxes of treats. Some danced around, others clapped and shouted with joy. And a few people looked up at the sky, as if trying to picture the lander (named Vikram) in their minds.

Everyone at the space agency was easily seen as being very touched. K Kalpana, who helps with the mission, said that since the last mission, the team had been completely dedicated to Chandrayaan-3.

Not too far from her, but not inside the main center, Madan Adarsh, someone who cleans the place at ISTRAC, shared that he felt a strong sense of accomplishment on Wednesday when the spacecraft successfully landed. He was outside, holding the Indian flag with a lot of excitement.

More scientists raised their hands in a V shape and gave thumbs-up signs. The team of women engineers from Isro, who had been working in the background for many years but have gained more attention lately, stood together, hugged each other, and posed for pictures. Kalpana neatly captured the essence of the moment, and her eyes became teary.

“This is the happiest time in my life, and I’m sure many of us feel the same way today. Every time something didn’t go well, we learned from it instead of feeling down. We used our past mistakes to become better.”

Somanath himself seemed happy to allow his team to shine and take the spotlight, preferring to let them do most of the talking. When he spoke, he kindly gave credit to all those who had come before at the space agency. And he pointed out that this was just the beginning.

The person in charge of the project, P Veeramuthuvel, stated that if the project is successful, it would bring a sense of calm to the scientists and engineers at the agency for the next four years. This would allow them to have a peaceful sleep without any worries.

He was talking in a way that wasn’t meant to be taken literally. Even when the celebrations went on till quite late, the work also kept happening. The rover named Pragyan was sent out from the lander about four hours later. This was the start of the next part of the mission.

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