The Chandrayaan-3 mission’s success is the result of the hard work and vision of several men and women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes for four years.
“From the launch to the landing, the entire mission’s operations happened flawlessly as per the timeline,” said P. Veeramuthuvel, Project Director of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
For K. Kalpana, Associate Project Director, the triumph was “the most memorable and happiest moment for all of us”. “From the day we started rebuilding our spacecraft after the Chandrayaan-2 experience, it has been a breathless time,” she said.
“Today we have achieved what we set out to do in 2019. It was delayed by four years, but we have done it,” said M. Sankaran, Director of the Dr. U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, where the lander and rover were built. “We have been living, eating, and breathing the Chandrayaan-3 project for the past four years,” he said while thanking the navigation and guidance team.
As for future missions, Sankaran said: “We will now be looking at putting man into space, putting a spacecraft around Venus, and landing a craft on Mars. Work on all these activities is going on. This success will inspire us.”
ISRO Chairman S. Somanath emphasised that “it was a made-in-India craft”. R. Umamaheswaran, former director of the Human Space Flight Progr amme at ISRO, called it “an all-out desi programme”.
The Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Valiamala near Thiruvananthapuram played a key role in developing the liquid propulsion systems on board the propulsion module and Vikram. Its Director, V. Narayanan, headed the Failure Analysis Committee (FAC) that investigated the crashlanding of the lander in the Chandrayaan-2 mission when it was just 2.1 km above the lunar surface. “The FAC made many recommendations and all of them were implemented in the Chandrayaan-3 mission. That led to its success,” he said.
There are many unsung heroes of ISRO responsible for the mission’s success. Among them are Mission Director M. Srikanth from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, A.S. Kiran Kumar and K. Sivan, both former ISRO chairmen, and S. Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, VSSC.