Chandrayaan-3 first spacecraft to land on moon's south pole
The successful moon landing marks India's emergence as a space power, making it the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to achieve the feat
India on Wednesday became the first country to land a spacecraft near the moon's south pole, the Indian Science Research Organisation (ISRO) has said.
The Chandrayaan-3 lander made a 'soft landing' on the lunar surface just after 6.04 pm India time.
"This is a victory cry of new India," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who watched the final moments before touchdown from Johannesburg where he is attending the BRICS summit.
Modi hoped that the mission's success would spur investment in private space launches and related satellite-based businesses.
India's standing as a space power
The successful landing comes just days after Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the moon after losing control.
India's previous attempt to land on the moon failed in 2019, but on Wednesday, scientists and officials clapped at the country's premier space research agency and cheered and hugged each other as the spacecraft landed.
The mission was launched nearly six weeks ago, and people across India were glued to television screens and said prayers as the spacecraft approached the surface.
The south pole of the moon has potential as a source of oxygen, fuel, and water for future missions and a moon colony. Chandrayaan-3 is expected to explore it for two weeks, running a series of experiments to determine the mineral composition of the lunar surface.
Several countries, including the United States, China, Israel and Japan, aim to set up a base on the moon. Only the United States, China and the former Soviet Union (Russia) have previously achieved a controlled landing on the lunar surface.