17 minutes of terror landing for Chandrayaan-3

Image source: ISRO

Chandrayaan-3 Vikram Landing period on the South Pole today from 5:20 PM to 6:05 PM is called 17 minutes of Terror, says ISRO. This process of landing is the toughest in the whole Chandrayaan-3 Mission. It will be performed by Lander itself in autonomous mode.

However, the final 17 minutes before landing may risk the gentle landing. A senior ISRO official dubbed the crucial moments before landing as “17 minutes of terror.”
The soft landing Chandrayaan-3 in this spacecraft touches down in a controlled manner. The speed comes down gradually and the spacecraft will touch the surface at almost 0 speed.

According to ISRO officials, for landing, the lander enters the powered braking phase at roughly 30 km altitude. It begins to use its four thruster engines by ‘retro firing’ them to approach the moon’s surface by gradually lowering speed. This is to prevent the lander from collapsing due to the Moon’s gravity.

While speaking to ANI, Nilesh M Desai, ISRO’s SAC Director, explains the critical stage of the soft landing of Chandrayaan-3. He explains the significance of those 17 minutes. The lander will attempt to land from a height of 30 kilometers on August 23. Its estimated velocity is roughly 1.68 kilometers per second, which is considered fast. The gravitational attraction of the moon will draw the lander towards itself.

Furthermore, he added, “We have installed four thruster engines in the lander module. From an altitude of 30 kilometers, the lander will come down to 7.5 kilometers and then to 6.8 kilometers”.

The lander and rover will have a mission life of one lunar day i.e. about 14 earth days to study the surroundings there.

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