Launch vehicle of Chandrayaan-3 re-enters Earth, predicted to fall in Pacific

NEW DELHI | Updated: 16 November, 2023 8:47 pm IST
India Makes Space Exploration History with Successful Chandrayaan-3 Moon Landing at South Pole

NEW DELHI: The launch vehicle of the famed Chandrayaan-3 that made its soft landing on the moon’s south polar surface, reportedly entered the Earth’s atmosphere on Wednesday. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has predicted that the upper stage will make a deep dive into the Pacific Ocean.

“The cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle made an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, around 14:42 IST Wednesday,” ISRO said in a statement.

India’s moon mission’s landing on the lunar surface had made it the only country that had successfully made a soft-landing on the dark side of the moon. The Vikram lander had blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, on July 14. After a space of a month, on August 23, the lander alongside the Pragyan Rover landed on the moon’s south pole.

This was India’s third moon exploration operation, following the failure of Chandrayaan-2. The rover has presently, stopped its operations owing to losing out on its solar powered batteries. ISRO had estimated Pragyan to initiate and complete its exploration of the moon within a lunar day, or 14 days on earth. It sent all of the data within these number of days, following which the entirety of the south pole was engulfed in darkness, as the lunar day came to an end.

“This rocket body (NORAD id 57321) was part of the vehicle that successfully injected the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into the intended orbit of 133 km x 35823 km with a 21.3 degree inclination on July 14,” ISRO said.

ISRO said the rocket body re-entered Earth’s atmosphere within 124 days of launch, fully complying with the “25-year rule” for Low Earth Orbit objects recommended by Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC).

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