Jul 14, 2023, 11:45am EDT
South Asia

What to know: Indian rocket heads to the Moon

India's LVM3-M4 blasts off carrying Chandrayaan-3 lander from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, India, July 14, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer

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The News

India successfully launched its Chandrayaan-3 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre Friday, its third attempt at a moon mission.

We’ve curated helpful reporting to illustrate the significance of India’s moon mission.

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  • India last orbited the moon in 2008, when it sent Chandrayaan-1 to orbit the south pole in search of water. In 2019, it made a second attempt with Chandrayaan-2, with the aim of landing a rover on the surface — but that rover crash landed. Chandrayaan-3, if it lands successfully in late August, will pick up where the last mission left off.
  • If India’s attempt is successful, it will join an exclusive club. Only three other countries, the U.S., China, and the former Soviet Union have successfully soft landed on the moon to date. Of the three, India has adopted a more straightforward name for its rocket: Chandrayaan translates to “moon craft,” a departure from China’s Chang’e, a reference to the goddess of the moon, or the U.S.‘s Apollo, named after the Greek god.
  • Indian Space Research Organization chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath said he’s “hoping we’ll find something new,” on the mission, and added the rover will examine the atmosphere close to the surface and the moon’s tectonic activity. — BBC
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Know More

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that the rocket “scripted a new chapter in India’s space odyssey.”

“This momentous achievement is a testament to our scientists’ relentless dedication,” Modi added. Thousands of people attended the launch in Sriharikota, with millions more tuning into livestreams.