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05/12/23 | 10:10 am

ISRO brings back Chandrayaan-3 Propulsion Module to Earth’s orbit

Following the lunar hop by Vikram (lander), this was another accomplishment that shows that ISRO can restart engines on the moon and operate equipment, both of which were not foreseen, the national space agency stated in a release.

After launch on July 14, 2023, Vikram successfully landed on the Moon on August 23, and Pragyaan began its exploration. Both operated for one lunar day as planned. Meanwhile, the Peopulsion Module's primary goal was to assist the lander's journey and carry out scientific tasks after separation.

Due to efficient maneuvers, the Module had excess fuel, allowing it to extend its mission. To continue scientific observations and plan for future missions, ISRO decided to reposition the Module to a safe Earth orbit, meticulously avoiding any collisions.

Careful orbital adjustments were made in October 2023 to bring the Propulsion Module back to Earth's orbit, enabling it to perform multiple Moon fly-bys before leaving the Moon's sphere of influence in November.

Now, the Module orbits Earth, ensuring it poses no threat to operational satellites. The SHAPE payload aboard the Module is active during Earth sightings and even during a special observation during a solar eclipse.

ISRO's flight dynamics team developed sophisticated tools for this mission, focusing on analyzing return maneuvers and planning future Moon-to-Earth journeys. 

The outcomes also encompass planning gravity-assisted flybys and ensuring the Propulsion Module won't leave any debris on the Moon, showcasing India's advanced space capabilities and preparation for upcoming missions.

(Inputs from ANI and HS)

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