India deploys a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole for the first time in history.

India has become the first country to successfully land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole, a historic achievement that elicited applause at viewing parties throughout the country.

“India is on the moon,” exclaimed Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, chair of the Indian Space Research Organisation, after the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft’s Vikram lander touched down near the lunar south pole soon after 6 p.m. (1230 BST), a global first for any space mission.

The successful landing heralds India’s rise as a space power, as the government seeks to stimulate investment in commercial space launches and satellite-based industries.

People throughout the country were transfixed to their television screens as the spaceship approached area thought to contain significant amounts of frozen water and rare components, according to experts.

“This is a victory cry of a new India,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked as he watched the landing from South Africa, where he is attending the Brics meeting. “We are living history.

As the scheduled drop approached, Indians were struck by a rush of apprehensive excitement. Special prayers were conducted at temples and mosques for a safe arrival. Hindu monks offered blessings on the mission and blew conch shells on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi.

Indians celebrated being the first to arrive on the South Pole and the fourth to land on the Moon during street festivities on Wednesday evening.

The lander performed a sophisticated manoeuvre in the final few minutes before impact, decreasing from 3,730 miles per hour to practically zero and changing from a horizontal to a vertical position.

At this point, the proper tilt and thrust were critical. The lander would have tipped over if too much force was applied. With insufficient force, it may have collided with the lunar surface at the incorrect area.

It was this final move that went awry during India’s final lunar mission in 2019, when the lander failed to alter position and hurtled towards the surface during the final braking phase.

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