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India capable of launching more planetary missions: Isro chief

By, New Delhi
Aug 28, 2023 02:30 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that August 23 will be celebrated as National Space Day to mark Chandrayaan-3’s landing on the Moon.

India has the capability of travelling to the Moon, Mars and Venus, but the sector needs more investment, the Indian Space Research Oganisation chief S Somanath said on Sunday, days after Chandrayaan-3’s lander made a successful soft landing near the lunar south pole on August 23.

ISRO Chairman S. Somanath with others show victory sign after the successful soft-landing Chandrayaan-3 Lander Vikram on the surface of Moon during Chandrayaan-3 Mission, at ISRO in Bengaluru on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)
ISRO Chairman S. Somanath with others show victory sign after the successful soft-landing Chandrayaan-3 Lander Vikram on the surface of Moon during Chandrayaan-3 Mission, at ISRO in Bengaluru on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)

The space agency will dedicatedly work towards fulfilling the vision that Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forth in his interaction with scientists on Saturday, Somanath said.

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“India has the capability to travel to the Moon, Mars and Venus but we need to increase our confidence. We need more investment, and the space sector must develop and by this, the whole nation should develop, that is our mission. We are ready to fulfil the vision that was given to us by PM Modi,” Somanath said in an interaction with mediapersons in Thiruvananthapuram.

On Saturday, the PM met scientists at the Bengaluru command centre of Isro, and congratulated them on the success of the Chandrayaan mission. During his address, the PM also named the landing spot of the Vikram module Shiv Shakti, while the spot where Chandrayaan-2 crash landed in 2019 will be known as Tiranga point.

PM Modi also announced that August 23 will be celebrated as National Space Day to mark Chandrayaan-3’s landing on the Moon.

On the choice of the name, the Isro chief said that Shiv Shakti symbolises the synergy between men and women, who have contributed to the success of the mission.

“The explanation that the honourable Prime Minister gave on ‘Shiv Shakti’, he represented it as a combination of man and woman, the contribution of women in Isro and the need to create that kind of synergy in the organisation. So, he narrated the meaning of the word in a manner that suits all of us. There is nothing wrong with that. He also gave the next name to ‘Tiranga’ (the spot where Chandrayaan-2 crash landed in 2019). Both are Indian-sounding names. He has a prerogative of naming it being the prime minister of the country,” Somanath said.

Isro has already started work on its missions for Mars and Venus. Shukrayaan-1, a tentative name for its Venus mission, is expected to launch sometime around 2025 with an objective to study the atmosphere of Venus.

Similarly, the Mars Orbiter Mission-2, India’s second Mars mission, is also expected around 2024 or 2025, Isro officials said.

Separately, the agency is preparing for the launch of Aditya L1 in the first week of September.

“Aditya L1 satellite is ready. It has reached Sriharikota and is connected to PSLV. The next aim of ISRO and the country is its launch. The launch will be in the first week of September,” Somanath said.

“After the launch, it will go to an elliptical orbit and from that it will travel to the L1 point which will almost take 120 days,” he added. Aditya-L1 will be the first space-based Indian observatory to study the Sun.

Aditya-L1, named after the Sun’s core, aims to provide unprecedented insights into the Sun’s behaviour by placing itself in a halo orbit around the Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, approximately 1.5 million kilometres from Earth.

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