After accomplishing its primary objectives intended for lunar operations, ISRO has brought back the Chandrayaan-3 Propulsion Module to Earth orbit.
“The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 have been completely met,” ISRO said in a statement.
Launched in July this year, the primary objective of the historic mission was to demonstrate a soft landing near the lunar south pole region and conduct experiments using the instruments on Vikram and Pragyaan.
The main objective was to ferry the Lander module to the final lunar polar circular orbit and separate the Vikram Lander.
After separation, the Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload in the PM was also operated.
The initial plan was to operate this payload for about three months but the precise orbit injection, ISRO says, resulted in the availability of over 100 kg of fuel in the PM after over one month of operation.
ISRO decided to use the available fuel to derive additional information for future lunar missions and demonstrate the mission operation strategies for a sample return mission.
The propulsion module made four Moon fly-bys before departing Moon SOI (sphere of influence) on November 10.
One of the other key outcomes was to prevent an uncontrolled crashing of the PM on the Moon’s surface at the end of the life of the PM. This met the requirements of no debris creation.
To continue the SHAPE payload for Earth observation, it was decided to re-orbit the PM to a suitable Earth orbit.
Currently, the propulsion module is orbiting Earth and crossed its first perigee with an altitude of 1.54 lakh km.
ISRO mentioned that there are no threats of close approach with any operational Earth-orbiting satellites.