India’s space agency is getting ready to launch a rocket as early as this Friday to land a rover on the moon, establishing the country as a significant player in space research and the burgeoning field of space commerce.
Only the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China have accomplished successful lunar landings. Earlier this year, a Japanese start-up’s attempt failed after the lander crashed.
The Chandrayaan-3, which cost just under $75 million to construct, is scheduled to launch at 2:35 p.m. local time (09:05 GMT) from India’s primary spaceport in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Four years have passed since the previous Chandrayaan (“Mooncraft”) effort, which failed due to the ground crew losing communication just before landing.
This time, as it targets a future manned lunar trip, there is optimism that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will succeed.
“We are sure this one will be successful and will bring pride and recognition to everybody who has worked for it,” Anil G. Verma of Godrej & Boyce, ISRO’s principal engine and components supplier, told AFP.
“I am very happy and hopeful,” K. Sivan, the ISRO chief during India’s last lunar landing attempt, told AFP.
According to officials, India wants its space companies to grow from having a 2% revenue share in 2020 to having a 5% revenue share within the following ten years in the global launch market.