Chandrayaan-3: India becomes fourth country to land on the moon

HELSINKI — India’s Chandrayaan-3 lander successfully touched down on the moon Wednesday, making the country only the fourth to achieve the feat.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission lander touched in the vicinity of the lunar South Pole region at 8:32 a.m. Eastern (1232 UTC) Aug. 23 after a 19-minute powered descent from lunar orbit.

India joins the United States, the former Soviet Union and China in successfully soft landing on the moon.

Footage from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Mission Operations Complex showed jubilant scenes following the successful landing. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared moments after the landing that, “India is on the moon.”

The Vikram lander touched down near a prime landing site at 69.37 degrees south latitude and 32.35 degrees east longitude, close to the crater Manzinus U. The descent was supported by ESA’s ESTRACK deep space tracking station in New Norcia, Australia.

The landing was made at the highest latitude of any spacecraft to soft land on the moon. The success follows a failed attempt in 2019 with the Chandrayaan-2 mission lander. 

The landing also comes days after Russia’s Luna 25 spacecraft suffered an issue during an orbital maneuver and smashed into the moon.

The lander also carries Pragyan, a six-wheeled, 26-kilogram solar-powered rover which will seek to demonstrate roving operation on the lunar surface. Its rollout is expected within the next few hours.