NEW DELHI: With the Covid pandemic delaying crucial missions of Isro, the country’s third lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 is now “likely to be launched during the third quarter of 2022 assuming normal workflow henceforth”, Union minister for department of space Jitendra Singh said on Wednesday. Chandrayaan-3 is a lander-and-rover-specific mission that will land on the lunar surface as the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 is already functional and taking images 100km from Moon’s orbit.
In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Jitendra Singh said the realisation of Chandrayaan-3 was in progress as the work was earlier hampered due to the pandemic. “However, all works that were possible in work from home mode were taken up even during lockdown periods. Chandrayaan-3 realisation resumed after commencement of unlock period and is in a matured stage of realisation,” Singh said in his reply to the LS. The minister said the realisation of Chandrayaan-3 involves various processes, including finalisation of configuration, subsystems realisation, integration, spacecraft-level detailed testing and a number of special tests to evaluate the system performance on Earth.
Chandrayaan-3 mission, which is critical for Isro as it will demonstrate India’s capabilities to make landings for further interplanetary missions, was earlier scheduled for launch last year. However, the lockdown-triggered Covid restrictions in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, where the key Isro centres are situated, delayed the mission by a year. Now, the lunar mission launch, scheduled for this year, is deferred again till next year.
Chandrayaan-2, aimed at landing a rover on the unchartered south pole of Moon, was launched on July 22, 2019. However, lander Vikram hard-landed on September 7, 2019, crashing India’s dream to become the first nation to successfully land on the lunar surface in its maiden attempt. Learning from its past mistakes, Isro now plans to achieve its lunar landing dream with Chandrayaan-3 mission.



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