The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said that the cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle which launched India’s Chandrayaan-3 moon mission has made an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on November 15.
“The cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle made an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, around 2.42 pm today. The probable impact point was predicted over the North Pacific Ocean,” ISRO said.
The space agency added that the final ground track did not pass over India.
“This rocket body (NORAD id 57321) was part of the vehicle that successfully injected the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into the intended orbit of 133 km x 35823 km with a 21.3o inclination on July 14, 2023,” the space agency said.
It added that the re-entry of the rocket body took place within 124 days of its launch.
“The post-mission orbital lifetime of the LVM3 M4 Cryogenic upper Stage is, thus, fully compliant with the “25-year rule” for LEO (Low Earth Orbit) objects as recommended by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC),” ISRO said.
It further added that post-Chandrayaan-3 injection, the upper stage had also undergone passivation to remove all residual propellant and energy sources to minimise the risks of accidental explosions as per the space debris mitigation guidelines prescribed by the United Nations and IADC. Passivation and Post-mission disposal of this rocket body in adherence to the internationally accepted guidelines once again reaffirms India’s commitment to preserve the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.
India’s third moon mission, Chandrayaan-3, was successfully launched onboard a Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM-3) rocket from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 14.
On August 23, India became the fourth country to successfully land on the moon as the Chandrayaan-3’s lander module successfully made a soft landing on the lunar surface and the first nation to touch down on the polar region of the moon.