India Launches (Another) Lunar Mission To Explore South Pole

This Thursday,

India launched a rocket with a spacecraft to support its lunar mission

Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh, located in southern India, made an ambitious attempt to place a lander on the moon and a robot rover there Friday. This is part of several global efforts that are underway to explore the surface of the Moon.

Chandrayaan-3 is the Sanskrit word for "mooncraft".

India took off with a launchpad at Sriharikota, carrying an orbiter, lander and rover as a demonstration of its emerging space technology.

India's first attempt to land a robot spacecraft at the little-explored southern pole of the moon failed in 2019. The spacecraft entered lunar orbit, but lost contact with its lander which crashed during its final descent. It was deploying a rover in order to look for water. According to an ISRO failure analysis report, the crash resulted from a software bug.

The Chandrayaan-1 Mission in 2008 confirmed that the $140-million 2019 mission was to study permanently shaded moon craters, which are believed to contain water deposits.

Only three nations have reached the moon.

More infographics can be found at


As Statista's Martin Armstrong details


On September 14, 1959 the Soviet Union's Luna 2 was the first manmade object to contact the Moon, slamming its surface.


In 1966, after this momentous accomplishment, the USSR turned its attention away from the impactors and became the first nation to complete a successful soft landing on the Moon.

Few months later


Surveyor 1 was the first U.S. satellite to land softly on the moon

This mission paved the road for the Apollo missions, and ultimately Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans ever to step foot on the surface of the celestial bodies.

The USSR was dominant in the early days of the space race.

The United States remains the only country that has successfully landed humans on Moon five times more after the Apollo 11 mission.

In recent years, after falling off the priority list for most space agencies in the 1960s, landing on the Moon is now a major focus. China was the first nation to soft-land a spacecraft in the dark or "far" side of the Moon when the Chang'e 4 lunar lander landed and launched the Yutu-2 lunar probe in December 2018.


The only other country that has landed on the Moon using an impactor or landing mission

Others have attempted this, but only at the end of orbiter missions. They crashed to the ground with the sole objective of self-destruction.

Chandrayaan-1, which had orbited the Moon for three hundred and twelve days, released a probe to study the impact of the moon in November 2008. The orbiter analyzed the debris, which confirmed that there was water. India was also the first country to land on the south pole of the moon.

After this successful soft landing, the Indian Space Research Organisation turned its attention towards a lunar soft landing.

Chandrayaan-2, a satellite that was launched in September 2018, crashed while attempting to land. The orbiter remained operational.

Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, ISRO director, said shortly after the launch of Chandrayaan-3 this week, that

The Indian space agency has mastered the art of reaching the moon. But it's the landing that they're working on.

If India succeeds with Chandrayaan-3

They will be the first nation to land at the south pole of the Moon, an area that hasn't been explored nearly as much as the rest of its surface.

India's space agency reports that the first part of the mission has been successful.

We will need to do this now

Wait until at least the 23rd of August to see what India can do that no one has done before

Land on the south-facing side of the Moon.