Who is Dr. Ritu Karidhal from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, responsible for Chandrayaan-3’s landing?

Who is Dr. Ritu Karidhal from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, responsible for Chandrayaan-3’s landing?

Today marks a truly special day for India as the lander module of Chandrayaan-3 is scheduled to make a soft landing on the surface of the Moon’s south pole. If successful, India will become the first country in the world to land on the southern pole of the Moon. Not just India, but the entire world is eagerly awaiting this historic moment.

Equipped with both a lander (Vikram) and a rover (Pragyan), the lander module is expected to perform a soft landing on the lunar south pole at around 6:00 PM today. Chandrayaan-2 faced a setback during its descent on September 7, 2019, when its lander “Vikram” made a hard landing due to a technical glitch.

India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, was launched in 2008. On July 14, India launched its third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, using the GSLV Mk-3 launch vehicle, at a cost of 600 crore INR. Chandrayaan-3 is set to perform a soft landing on the lunar south pole, a feat that no country has achieved yet.

After the launch on July 14, Chandrayaan-3 entered the lunar orbit on August 5. On August 17, the lander and rover modules separated. Prior to this, mission maneuvers were conducted on August 6, 9, 14, and 16 to bring the mission closer to the Moon.

Today, the entire nation is hoping for a successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon. People from all walks of life are offering their prayers and well-wishes. The successful landing of Chandrayaan-3’s lander is also significant for Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, as it was launched by Dr. Ritu Karidhal, known as “Rocket Woman,” hailing from Lucknow.

ISRO has entrusted the responsibility of Chandrayaan-3’s landing to senior woman scientist Dr. Ritu, who is serving as the Mission Director. The campaign’s Project Director is P. Vira Muthuvel. Unlike Chandrayaan-2, Chandrayaan-3 carries a propulsion module instead of an orbiter. This module will work similar to a communication satellite.

From Childhood, Intrigued by Stars and Celestial Objects

Dr. Ritu Karidhal was born in 1975 into a middle-class family in Lucknow. Since childhood, she had a keen interest in stars, celestial objects, and the sky. She used to collect news articles, information, and images related to ISRO and NASA from newspapers. She pursued her M.Sc. and M.Sc. in Physics from Lucknow University and later joined the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Bangalore, for a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Karidhal started working at ISRO as an engineer in November 1997.

This time, the city’s daughter and our senior scientist, Dr. Ritu Karidhal, has been appointed as the Mission Director for Chandrayaan-3. This is a matter of pride not only for Lucknow but for the entire state of Uttar Pradesh. Plans are underway to conduct a screening of the launch among the members of the UP-MECH Yore Astronomers Club at the Indira Gandhi Planetarium.

Sumit Kumar Srivastava, Scientific Officer, Indira Gandhi Planetarium, Department of Science and Technology

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