NASA Moon Mission Faces Setback: A Contrast to ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 Success

09 Jan 2024, 05:24 PM IST

A private spacecraft funded by NASA, Astrobotic Technology, experienced a “critical” fuel leak just hours after its Monday launch. The lunar lander, named Peregrine, managed to orient itself towards the sun to charge its battery, but the fuel leak has dimmed hopes for the planned moon landing on February 23.

The issue was reported approximately seven hours after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, where United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket provided the lift for Astrobotic’s lander.

Astrobotic’s Peregrine Mission One faces a “technical issue” that threatens the spacecraft’s ability to achieve a soft landing on the moon. NASA had invested $108 million in Astrobotic’s contract for the Peregrine lander, with more projects in the pipeline.

The failed moon landing attempt by the private US company draws attention to the challenges of lunar missions, underscoring the complexities involved. In contrast, India’s ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) achieved success with Chandrayaan-3’s moon landing in August 2023.

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3, built and launched on a budget of $75 million, landed near the moon’s south pole. The mission took 40 days to reach the moon using less powerful rockets and a slingshot method. The controlled soft landing demonstrated the precision and success of India’s lunar exploration program.

The contrasting outcomes between NASA’s recent setback and ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 success highlight the difficulties and risks associated with lunar missions. The moon landing history, marked by both successes and failures, includes notable achievements by the Soviet Union, the US, China, and India.

Controlled landings on the moon pose challenges due to the absence of an atmosphere for parachute use. Spacecraft must navigate difficult terrain using thrusters to slow descent, making successful moon landings a remarkable achievement.

While Astrobotic faces a setback in its quest to be the first private business to land on the moon, ISRO’s accomplishments underscore India’s growing capabilities in space exploration and technology. As the space race continues, the focus remains on overcoming technical challenges and ensuring the success of future lunar missions.

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