Chandrayaan-3 has just completed its quest to the Moon after a 42-day journey filled with critical phases. The mission garnered attention for focusing on the uncharted frontiers at the much-coveted lunar South Pole and carrying forward the legacy of Chandrayaan-1.
But what makes this particular landing near the Lunar South Pole so fascinating when the first landing on the Moon occurred almost 5 decades ago? This is because a rougher terrain, with more craters and mountainous regions, characterizes the lunar South Pole. Now, to set its foot down softly on the lunar south pole, Chandrayaan-3 was well-equipped with the technologies and systems developed by ISRO and various other companies and their research teams.
Companies behind India’s historic Moon mission
While ISRO is the lead organization behind the Chandrayaan-3 mission, many other established companies & budding organisations have contributed to its success, including (but not limited to) –
1) Larsen and Toubro (L&T) supplied the heat shield, the propulsion system and the landing gear. The critical booster segments, namely head end segment, middle segment and nozzle bucket flange, with a diameter of 3.2 meter were manufactured and proof pressure tested at L&T’s Facility in Powai, Mumbai. Other contributions to the mission include supplying ground and flight umbilical plates manufactured by L&T’s hi-tech aerospace manufacturing facility at Coimbatore.
2) Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) manufactured the Vikram lander, part of the spacecraft that will land on the Moon. The Lander will be able to soft-land at a specified lunar site and deploy the Rover, which will conduct an in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface.
3) Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) supplied the power system and batteries for the spacecraft. Welding Research Institute (WRI) of BHEL was responsible for manufacturing and supplying bi-metallic adaptors for Chandrayaan-3. The components made by WRI were parts of the cryogenic stage of the LVM-3M4 flight Chandrayaan-3.
4) Paras Defence and Space Technologies supplied the navigation system for the spacecraft, guiding it through its lunar journey. Chandrayaan-3 boasts an intelligent navigation, guidance and control system integrated into the Lander’s infrastructure. This intricate network of computer logic takes charge of the spacecraft’s movements, organizing the journey for a safe touchdown.
5) Godrej Aerospace has developed the Lander’s heat shield and the Rover’s landing gear. Commenting on the topic, Maneck Behramkamdin, AVP & Business Head, Godrej Aerospace, said, “We take immense pride in our contribution to ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 mission.”
6) MTAR Technologies, an Indian aerospace & defence company, manufactured the Lander’s propulsion and the Rover’s navigation systems. To analyse Moon’s soil, the propulsion module will carry the lander and rover configuration to a 100 km lunar orbit.
7) Ananth Technologies has developed the Lander’s camera and the Rover’s proximity sensor. “ATL has been into manufacturing of various electronics as well as mechanical subsystems for ISRO’s launch vehicles, satellites, spacecraft payloads, and ground systems,” stated Subba Rao Pavuluri, Founder and MD, Ananth Technologies. ATL has executed satellite systems for the Chandrayaan-3 mission, including telemetry, telecommand, power management systems and direct current-to-direct current (DC-DC) converters for the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
8) Sri Venkateswara Aerospace has manufactured the Lander’s legs and the Rover’s chassis. The Lander is responsible for the soft landing on the Moon. It is box-shaped, with four landing legs and four landing thrusters of 800 newtons each. It will carry the Rover and various scientific instruments to perform in-site analysis.
9) Midhani, an Indian engineering company, supplied critical alloys such as the Rover’s wheels. The Rover is expected to make several important scientific discoveries, like the presence of water ice in the lunar soil, the history of lunar impacts and the evolution of the Moon’s atmosphere.
10) Walchandnagar Industries Ltd has been manufacturing components for all 48 launches since the first launch of PSLV-D1 in 1993. Walchandnagar Industries’ CEO and MD Chirag Dosh suggested that the critical booster segments S200 used in the LVM3 launch vehicle of the Chandrayaan 3 mission were manufactured and proof pressure-tested specifically at its facility.
In addition to these companies, ISRO has also collaborated with several international partners, such as the European Space Agency, the Australian Space Agency and NASA. This collaboration has been essential in providing ground support for the mission.
The launch of Chandrayaan-3 is a significant milestone in India’s space program. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the many people involved in the project and the mission’s success serves as a realization of the dreams of millions of Indians. In this regard, PM Narendra Modi said Chandrayaan-3’s landing spot on the Moon will be known as Shiv-Shakti Point and the site where Chandrayaan-2 left its footprint on the Moon will be known as Tiranga Point. He further announced that August 23 will be celebrated as Hindustan National Space Day. The mission’s success is a proud moment for India and inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers.
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