Chandrayaan-3: Significance and Way Forward- Explained, pointwise

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As Chandrayaan-3 soft landed on the moon at 6.04 pm on 23rd August India became the first country to land a spacecraft in uncharted territory near the lunar south pole. India is only the fourth country in history to complete a soft landing on the Moon after the United States, the Soviet Union and China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the point where the Vikram lander touched down on the lunar surface would be named “Shiv Shakti” and the crash site of the failed Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019 as “Tiranga point”.

What is Chandrayaan-3 mission?

Chandrayaan-3 is a lunar exploration mission by the Indian Spacе Rеsеarch Organisation (ISRO). It is the third mission in thе Chandrayaan sеriеs, following Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2. Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface.

Chandrayan-3 consists of Lander and Rover configuration. The lander which made the soft landing on the moon is called Vikram and Rover which would explore the lunar surface is called Pragyaan.

vikaram lander

Source- The Hindu

Chandrayaan-3 Mission was launched using the LVM3 rocket system.

Read more – About LVM3

What were the mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 mission?

The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 were as follows-

  • To demonstrate Safe and Soft Landing on Lunar Surface
  • To demonstrate Rover roving on the moon
  • To conduct in-situ scientific experiments

What are the components of Chandrayaan-3 Mission?

The Chandrayaan-3 Mission consists of two modules – The propulsion module (PM) and the Lander module (LM).


The main function of Propulsion Module (PM) is to carry the lander Module (LM) from launch vehicle injection till final lunar 100 km circular polar orbit, where the LM separates from PM.

What are the different payloads used and what are their functions?

The different payloads used, and their functions are mentioned below-

Carrier of PayloadName of PayloadFunction of payload
Propulsion ModuleSHAPE- Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth payloadSHAPE payload to conduct novel Spectro-polarimetric studies of Earth from lunar orbit. It will look for smaller planets that could be habitable in the reflected light.


Lander ModuleChaSTE- Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical ExperimentChaSTE to measure the thermal conductivity and temperature near the south pole.
ILSA- Instrument for Lunar Seismic ActivityILSA to measure the seismicity around the landing site and delineate the structure of the lunar crust and mantle.
RAMBHA-Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere

LP- Langmuir Probe

RAMBHA and LP to measure the near surface plasma (ions and electrons) density and its changes with time
LRA-LASER Retroreflector ArrayLRA is a passive experiment to understand the dynamics of Moon system.
Rover payloadsLIBS-Laser Induced Breakdown SpectroscopeLIBS to derive the chemical Composition and infer mineralogical composition to further our understanding of Lunar surface and qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis.
APXS –Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer


APXS to determine the elemental composition (Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca,Ti, Fe) of Lunar soil and rocks around the lunar landing site


What is the difference between Chandrayaan-3 and Chandrayaan-2?

Chandrayaan-3 has been designed incorporating the lessons from the crash landing of Chandrayaan-2 lander on the lunar surface. The difference between Chandrayaan-3 and Chandrayaan-2 are tabulated below:

Lander ConfigurationChandrayaan-2 consisted of Vikram Lander and Pragyaan Rover.Chandrayaan-3 has separate Lander Module (LM), Propulsion Module (PM) and a rover
CamerasOne lander hazard detection and avoidance cameras.Two lander hazard detection and avoidance cameras which are more robust.
Landing SiteChandrayaan-2 attempted to land near the lunar south pole specifically in the region called South Polar Region- Highland Fractured Terrain.Chandrayaan-3 had no fixed landing site unlike Chandrayaan-2. Artificial intelligence was used to determine the landing site using the data from the more robust landing cameras.
PayloadChandrayaan-2 did not have a specific payload.Chandrayaan-3 carries a payload called SHAPE (Spectro Polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth)
Design MethodologyChandrayaan-2 had a successbased design.Chandrayaan-3 had a failure-based design which means that if everything including sensors and electronics fail, Vikram would still make the soft landing.
Landing area targetChandrayaan-2 target area of was 500 X 500m.Chandrayaan-3 target area was kept at 4 km X 2.4 km so that the Lander had more options to choose the best target site on its own.
OrbiterChandrayaan-2 orbiter was placed successfully.Chandrayaan-3 does not have a separate orbiter but is using the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2.
DesignThe weight of the payload of Chandrayaan-3 has been kept more than Chandrayaan-2 with the Lander having most of the extra weight for successful landing.

The number of thrusters in Chandrayaan-3 has been decreased from five to four with no central thrusters.

The legs of the Lander in Chandrayaan-3 were made sturdier to ensure that they could land even at a higher velocity.

Use of additional solar panels in Chandrayaan-3 to ensure power generation after a soft landing regardless of the weather on the Moon.



Why did Chandrayaan-3 land on the near side of the moon?

Read More: Why did Chandrayaan-3 land on the near side of the moon?

What discoveries have been made by Chandrayaan-3 so far?

Two major discoveries made by Chandrayaan-3 so far since it has landed on the lunar surface.

Presence of Sulphur and oxygen-Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard ‘Pragyan’ rover of Chandrayaan-3 has ‘unambiguously confirmed’ the presence of sulphur in the lunar surface near south pole. Other elements like Aluminum (Al), Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Chromium (Cr), Titanium (Ti), Manganese (Mn), Silicon (Si), and Oxygen (O) are also detected.

Lunar temperature variation: Chandrayaan 3 has measured the soil temperature of the moon and revealed some interesting findings. The temperature ranges from minus 10 degree celsius to around 70 degree-celsius. While minus 10-degree was recorded at 80 mm under the ground 60-degree temperature was recorded at around 20 mm above the ground.

What is the significance of Chandrayaan-3 mission?

Scientific significance

Shift in India’s space programme objectives: The Chandrayaan-3 mission signals a shift of focus of India’s space programme. Earlier ISRO seemed focussed on utilitarian objectives like enabling telecommunications, telemedicine and tele-education, broadcasting, or setting up remote sensing satellites. But with the Chandrayaan-3 space and planetary exploration is becoming a priority for ISRO.

Boost to Future lunar space exploration: The success of Chandrayaan-3 will boost the future lunar mission, like LUPEX scheduled for 2024-25 and ISRO’s collaboration with JAXA, which will explore the permanently shaded region of the moon. ISRO will also get a boost for the International Lunar Research Station program which will be a better alternative to International space station for conducting space experiments.

Boost to Gaganyaan and Aditya L-1 missions: The launch vehicle used for Chandrayaan-3 mission is LVM-3. It is the heaviest launch vehicle of India and the successful launch of Chandrayaan –3 mission through this vehicle gives a boost to future Gaganyaan and Aditya L-1  missions which will launched by this LVM-3 rocket.

Boost to future ISRO’s Vision- ISRO can undertake several missions on the back of success of Chandrayaan-3 mission like launch of satellites powered by electric motors, quantum communications, human space flight, reusable launch vehicles, planetary habitation and interplanetary communications.

Economic Significance

Boost to India’s push for “Space Industrialization”- The success of Chandrayaan-3 provides an opportunity for India to push for Space Industrialization.India can extract extra-terrestrial mineral resources and embark on deep space exploration.

Boost to the Indian space-tech ecosystem: The successful launch of Chandrayaan-3 could bolster investor confidence and attract more private investment in space technology. Chandrayaan-3 mission’s success validates India’s space industry to emerge as a potential supplier for lunar programs undertaken by other countries. Make in India space program will also gain success. India’s space economy can reach $100 billion by 2040.

Geo-political Significance

Enhancement of India’s role and position in the Artemis accord- India is now a member of the Artemis Accords (the U.S.-led multilateral effort to place humans on the moon by 2025 and thereafter to expand human space exploration to the earth’s wider neighbourhood in the solar system). With the success of Chandrayaan-3 mission India has an opportunity to lead the other Artemis countries alongside the U.S.

Expansion of cooperation in outer space- While geo-political rivalry is a reality, India’s success in space missions like Chandrayaan-3 provides India an opportunity to limit competition and expand cooperation in outer space. India can also gain military advantage in space over their geopolitical rivals on Earth.

What are the challenges that Indian space sector faces despite Chandrayaan-3’s success?

Technological Challenges – While Chandrayaan took nearly six weeks to get to the Moon, the failed Russian mission Luna-25 took just one week to touch down (although it crashed). ISRO faces technological upgradation challenges like powerful launch vehicles with higher payload capacity and reach.

Budgetary Challenges- ISRO faces budget constraints despite its successes in launching missions. There has been an 8% decline in budget allocations to ISRO in 2023-2024 with respect to 2022-2023. The funds allocated to the space sector are very less in comparison to other countries. The US spent 10 times and China 6 times more than India in the space sector in 2019-20.

Manpower Challenges-ISRO faces manpower challenge due to the problem of Brain Drain and fewer students pursuing advanced spaced space studies.

Government funded space missions-Some critics have argued that such massive spending by the government alone in these space missions curtail Indian government’s spending capability in social sectors like poverty alleviation, education and health which must be the priority for developing country like India.

Absence of a Clear Legislative Framework-The draft Space Activities bill which was introduced way back in 2017 but hasn’t been passed yet.

Lack of robust Dispute Settlement Mechanism-This discourages private investment in the space sector. The void was seen in Antrix – Devas cancelled satellite deal. The Government of India owes nearly $1.2 billion to Devas Multimedia as per an order of a tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce.

What should be the course of action for Indian Space sector to become a space superpower?

Despite successful missions like Chandrayaan-3 India’s share in the total global space economy is just around 2%. India needs to adopt a multipronged approach to become a space superpower in ‘Amrit Kaal’.

Push for privatization- India must frame its space policy to allow for greater private sector investment in field of space technology. India’s space programmes should be driven by commerce.

Passage of space Activities Bill- The passage of the Space Activities Bill should also be done in order to give private players greater clarity and protection. This should involve proper consultation and discussions with the concerned stakeholders.

Setting up Space Dispute Tribunal- The plan to set up an independent tribunal to adjudicate disputes among private space entities should be implemented promptly.

Enhanced International Collaboration- India must do more collaboration and research with pioneer countries like the US & Russia who are already managing big constellations of satellites.


Indian Space sector possesses huge untapped potential which can be realized with adequate policy measures by the government. This would boost the confidence of the private sector and deliver optimum results, thereby helping the country acquire the top spot in the global space industry.

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