Second moonshot – On India’s Chandrayaan-3 Mission | 11 July 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the Chandrayaan-3 mission of India.


  • GS3: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology; Awareness in the fields of Space;
  • Essay;
  • Prelims


  • At 2.35 p.m. Indian Standard Time on July 14, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon onboard a Launch Vehicle Mark 3 from Sriharikota.

What is the Chandrayaan-3 mission?

  • Chandrayaan-3 is India's third lunar mission, which is planned to be launched on July 14, 2023, from Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota.
  • The mission is a follow-on to Chandrayaan-2 and aims to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface.
  • The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are as follows:
    • To land safely on the surface
    • To demonstrate rover operations
    • To perform scientific experiments on site
  • The spacecraft consists of a lander and a rover, similar to Chandrayaan-2, but without an orbiter. The propulsion module will carry the lander and rover configuration until the spacecraft is in a 100 km lunar orbit.
  • The launcher identified for Chandrayaan-3 is GSLV-Mk3, which will place the integrated module in an Elliptic Parking Orbit (EPO) of size ~170 x 36500 km.
  • The lander for Chandrayaan-3 will have only four throttle-able engines, unlike Vikram on Chandrayaan-2, which had five 800 Newtons engines with a fifth one being centrally mounted with a fixed.
  • The mission is expected to land around August 23 or August 24, 20231. The significance of the mission is to explore the Moon's south pole.

What is the significance of the Chandrayaan-3 mission to India?

  • Technological advancement: The mission is a testament to India's technological advancement in the field of space exploration. It demonstrates India's capability to launch and operate a lunar mission independently.
  • Scientific research: The mission aims to conduct scientific experiments on the lunar surface, which could lead to new discoveries and insights into the Moon's geology, mineralogy, and atmosphere.
  • International collaboration: The mission is a collaboration between India and Japan, which could lead to further cooperation in the field of space exploration.
  • Economic benefits: The mission could have economic benefits for India, as it could lead to the development of new technologies and industries related to space exploration.
  • National pride: The mission is a source of national pride for India, as it showcases the country's achievements in the field of space exploration and its ability to compete with other space-faring nations.


  • This will be India’s second attempt to soft-land a lander and rover on the lunar surface, and demonstrate end-to-end capability in the relevant technologies.
  • Soft-landing on the moon is a complicated exercise and the possibility of failure exists, even if it may be lower — yet there is good reason to focus on the consequences of a complete success.
  • The mission will play out with India’s decision to join the Artemis Accords in the backdrop; in this group, if the mission succeeds, the country will be just the second to have soft-landed a rover on the moon.

What is the Artemis Accords and why is it important for India to join?

  • Artemis Accords is a non-binding international agreement designed to guide civil space exploration and use.
  • It is grounded in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and is a set of principles and commitments to provide participating nations with a practical framework for cooperation in lunar exploration missions.
  • India has decided to join the Artemis Accords, which is significant for India to establish itself as a global space power and to collaborate with other nations, including the United States, in future Moon missions.
  • By becoming a signatory, India can share knowledge and expertise, contributing to the advancement of scientific research, technological development, and the expansion of humanity's presence in space.
  • India's decision to join the Artemis Accords highlights its dedication to global space cooperation and a keen interest in participating in lunar exploration missions.
  • The decision to join the Artemis Accords is a signal to China that India is betting on continued U.S. scientific and technological supremacy.
  • The importance of this feat cannot be overstated: a slew of public and private moon-landing missions is in the works worldwide as the establishment of permanent bases on the natural satellite has emerged as a major geopolitical goal.
  • The Accords define the U.S.-led axis while China and Russia are working on an ‘International Lunar Research Station’.
  • The success of Chandrayaan-3 will also make it the surface mission closest to the lunar south pole to date, a region of the moon that has been found to be geologically unique and host to spots in permanent shadow.

Way Forward:

  • Taken together, Chandrayaan-3 offers opportunities for India to lead the world’s response to the moon’s growing importance in the scientific and the political milieus.

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