The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has officially reported the controlled re-entry of the cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle. This stage played a critical role in successfully positioning the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into orbit on July 14 earlier this year.
ISRO specified that the anticipated impact area for the re-entry was over the North Pacific Ocean. Importantly, the final trajectory avoided crossing over India, as confirmed in their released statement.
This particular rocket component, a part of the LVM-3 M4 launch vehicle, re-entered Earth's atmosphere around 14:42 IST. Remarkably, the re-entry occurred within 124 days of its launch, fully complying with the "25-year rule" applicable for low-Earth orbit objects, in line with guidelines recommended by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), as validated by ISRO.
Following the successful injection of Chandrayaan-3, the upper stage underwent "passivation" to eliminate any remaining propellant and energy sources. This action was in adherence to space debris mitigation guidelines outlined by the United Nations and IADC.
ISRO emphasized, "The passivation and post-mission disposal of this rocket body in compliance with internationally accepted guidelines once again underscore India's commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of activities in outer space," as stated in their official statement.
Chandrayaan-3 represents India's third mission to the moon, aimed at achieving a soft landing on its surface for the second time. Departing from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 14, 2023, the spacecraft smoothly entered lunar orbit by August 5, 2023. A historic milestone was reached as the lander flawlessly touched down near the lunar south pole on August 23, 2023.
Chandrayaan-3 Key Objectives
Demonstrate a secure and gentle landing on the lunar surface.
Showcase rover mobility and exploration capabilities on the moon.
Conduct scientific experiments directly on the lunar surface.
Surprising Lunar Surface Temperatures: ChaSTE recorded temperatures of up to 70 degrees Celsius, challenging earlier projections of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.