India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission landed on the moon on Aug. 23.
There was no guarantee that the lander would make it in one piece. A previous Indian vehicle crashed in 2019 as it headed to the lunar surface, as did spacecraft from Russia and a Japanese company this year.
A three-minute video released this week by the Indian space agency shows how the Vikram lander descended, hovered, searched for a suitable landing site and finally touched down.
The Vikram lander and Pragyan rover are expected to operate for two weeks, from lunar sunrise to sunset. New images and videos will be added below as they are released.
Roving · Aug. 25
Pragyan moved around 8 meters (26 feet) across the surface. The rover’s rear wheels are designed to leave imprints of the Indian space agency’s logo and the Indian national emblem.
Rolling onto the surface · Aug. 23
The Pragyan rover rolled a ramp down and onto the lunar surface. The rover has six wheels and is 92 centimeters (3 feet) long.
Deploying a ramp · Aug. 23
The Vikram lander lowered a ramp to touch the lunar surface, and the Pragyan rover raised its solar panel.
The landing site · Aug. 23
An image released shortly after landing shows a shadow from Vikram’s legs and the relatively flat terrain of the landing site.
Landing · Aug. 23
A composite of four images taken by the Vikram lander as it descended to the surface.
Entering lunar orbit · Aug. 5
Chandrayaan-3 entered lunar orbit after a leisurely, fuel-saving route from Earth.
Separation · July 14
A camera captured the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft as it separated from the launch vehicle in Earth’s orbit.
Liftoff · July 14
Chandrayaan-3 launched from Sriharikota, a launch site off of India’s East Coast, on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III rocket.