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ISRO moves Chandrayaan-3 propulsion module to orbit around Earth

The Propulsion Module (PM) of Chandrayaan-3 has been moved from an orbit around the Moon to an orbit around Earth, ISRO has said, terming the operation a unique experiment.

The primary objective of the Chandrayaan-3 mission was to demonstrate a soft landing near the lunar south polar region and perform experiments using the instruments on the ‘Vikram’ lander and the ‘Pragyan’ rover.

The spacecraft was launched on July 14, 2023, on board the LVM3-M4 vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR).

On August 23, the Vikram lander made its historic touchdown on the Moon and subsequently, the Pragyan rover was

Chandrayaan-3 Mission:

Ch-3’s Propulsion Module (PM) takes a successful detour!

In another unique experiment, the PM is brought from Lunar orbit to Earth’s orbit.

An orbit-raising maneuver and a Trans-Earth injection maneuver placed PM in an Earth-bound orbit.…
— ISRO (@isro) December 5, 2023

The scientific instruments in the lander and rover were operated continuously for one lunar day as per the defined mission life.
“The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 have been completely met,” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement.

For the Propulsion Module, the main objective was to ferry the lander module from the Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) to the final lunar polar circular orbit and separate the lander, it said.

After the separation, the Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload in the PM was also operated, the space agency said.

The initial plan was to operate this payload for about three months during the mission life of the PM. The precise orbit injection by LVM3 and optimal earth or lunar burn manoeuvres resulted in the availability of over 100 kg of fuel in the PM after over one month of operations in the lunar orbit, it added.

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