The launch of Chandrayan-3 may be postponed until 2023

India’s second attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon is likely to be postponed to 2023. This was stated by the head of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) S. Somanath.

Chandrayan-3 Mission

The first attempt to land an Indian spacecraft on the Moon took place in September 2019. This task was assigned to the Vikram landing platform. It successfully separated from the Chandrayan-2 orbital module and began to descend. But when the platform was at a height of only a few kilometers from the lunar surface, the brake engine failed. As a result, Vikram crashed.

Chandrayan-3 (concept). Source: ISRO

After this failure, ISRO decided to repeat the attempt to land on the Moon with the Chandrayan-3 mission. Unlike its predecessor, the new spacecraft has a simpler design and consists only of a landing pad and a lunar rover. It must land in the lunar polar region and work for 14 days. The collected information will be retransmitted with the help of the Chandrayan-2 orbital module, which is still operating successfully in the selenocentric orbit.

Chandrayan-3 was originally planned to be sent to the moon in 2020, but due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and various technical problems, the launch was postponed several times. It is currently scheduled for August 2022. But, according to recent statements by the head of ISRO, it is likely to be postponed again.

Currently, engineers are testing the propulsion system of the device. According to S. Somanath, “very good data” were obtained during the tests. But the fact is that this time ISRO has chosen a cautious approach and decided to conduct as many tests as possible to maximize the likelihood of ultimate success. Due to this, the launch of Chandrayan-3 will most likely be postponed again — to 2023 this time.

Manned program of India

Together with the preparation of the Chandrayan-3 mission, ISRO is also implementing an even more ambitious project — the Gaganyaan spacecraft.

Gaganyaan as imagined by an artist. Source: ISRO

Initially, the first manned flight of the ship was to take place in 2022. It was planed be launched on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. But, as in the case of Chandrayan-3, the flight date was postponed several times due to the consequences of COVID-19 and various technological difficulties.

According to the latest reports from Indian officials, the design of all systems and subsystems of the Gaganyaan spacecraft has been completed. At the next stage, ISRO will test the elements of the crew emergency rescue system. They are scheduled for August and December. After that two unmanned orbital tests will be conducted. Only then will the new spacecraft go into space with humans. According to ISRO experts, taking into account the time required to prepare and conduct all the above operations and tests, India’s first manned flight will take place no earlier than 2024.

We would like to remind that Chandrayan-2 recently photographed the landing site of the Apollo 11 mission.

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