Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to be in space and Sunita Williams, an Indo-American NASA astronaut have lauded the Chandrayaan-3 mission, which helped the country become the first nation in the world to land near the South Pole of the Moon.
Led by scientists at ISRO, the Vikram lander, aboard Chandrayaan-3, landed near the South Pole of the Moon on Wednesday after travelling about 3.84 lakh km for over 40 days.
India also became the fourth nation to make a soft landing on the Moon after the erstwhile USSR, the US, China.
“I am not surprised, because I knew deep inside that ISRO will make it this time. I am already a proud Indian and I have become a prouder Indian now. I knew that ISRO will iron out all the challenges faced by Chandrayaan-2 and will make this mission a success,” said Sharma, during a live telecast of the landing on National Geographic.
“I think I was born a little early because I’m already 75 and the remarkable era of space exploration programmes begins now but as an Indian, I join my hands and congratulate ISRO for the great success,” he added.
The 2019 Chandrayaan-2 mission had failed in its lunar phase when its lander ‘Vikram’ crashed into the surface of the Moon minutes before the touchdown following anomalies in the braking system in the lander while attempting a landing. Chandrayaan’s maiden mission was in 2008.
“Congratulations for a great Moon landing. I’m so looking forward to seeing the scientific research that should come out of this landing and the rover taking samples. It’s just going to be another great step in being able to have a sustainable living on the moon. Many Congratulations!” said Williams.
The moon lander and the rover are part of the Rs 600 crore Chandrayaan-3 mission.
The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft comprises a propulsion module (weighing 2,148 kg), a lander (1,723.89 kg) and a rover (26 kg).
Chris Hadfield, Former Commander of the International Space Station called the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 a “historic and amazingevent”.
“ISRO was able to send a probe to not only get to the moon but descend and land on the surface and especially start to investigate and explore the most interesting parts of the moon down towards the south pole. It’s pivotal to history, not only biologically, but also culturally to the world.
“It’s a significant step for all of us and India is right at the forefront of that. It’s a very exciting and prideful day and I am really delighted for everybody in India that they can look up and see the moon differently because of Chandrayaan-3,” Hadfield said.