India launched its third lunar mission, aiming to be the first to land on the Moon's poorly explored south pole, BBC reported.
The Chandrayaan-3 vehicle, comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, lifted off from the Sriharikota space center at 2:35 p.m. local time on Friday.
The vehicle will reach the Moon on August 23-24, space officials said.
If successful, India will become the fourth country after the United States, the former Soviet Union and China to soft-land on the Moon.
The Chandrayaan-1 project director said the craft "conducted the first and most detailed search for water on the lunar surface and found that the Moon has an atmosphere during the daytime."
Chandrayaan-2 consisted of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The launch in July 2019 was partially successful. However, the lander failed to make a soft landing and crashed during landing. Even today, the orbiter continues to circle and explore the Moon.
Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, head of the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro), said they are carefully studying the data from the recent crash and conducting simulation exercises to iron out the kinks.
Chandrayaan-3, which weighs 3,900 kg and cost 6.1 billion rupees ($75 million), has "the same goals" as its predecessor, he added, trying to make a soft landing on the moon's surface.
Source: Public Radio of Armenia - BBC