Chandrayaan-3 team honoured with US award for space exploration: ‘Inspiration’


The team from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) responsible for the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s success was honoured with the “2024 John L. ‘Jack’ Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration” on Monday, news agency ANI reported, citing a press release by the Space Foundation.

PM Modi on August 26 declared that the landing site of Chandrayaan 3’s moon lander would be named Shiv Shakti.(ISRO Twitter)

The award recognises their contribution in “raising the bar for space exploration.” Last year in August, during the Chandrayaan-3 mission, a successful landing occurred on the Moon’s south pole, marking India as the first country to achieve this feat.

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India’s Consul General in Houston, DC Manjunath, accepted the award on behalf of ISRO during the opening ceremony of the annual Space Symposium in Colorado.

“India’s leadership in space is an inspiration to the world,” Space Foundation CEO Heather Pringle said in a statement in January when the award was announced.

“The pioneering work of the entire Chandrayaan-3 team has again raised the bar for space exploration, and their remarkable lunar landing is a model to us all. Congratulations and we can’t wait to see what you do next!” he said.

The Space Foundation, in a press release, highlighted that Chandrayaan-3, an ISRO-developed mission, has expanded humanity’s space exploration horizons by becoming the first to land on the Moon’s South Pole.

What is John L. ‘Jack’ Swigert Jr. Award?

The John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration celebrates remarkable achievements in space exploration and discovery, whether by a company, space agency, or consortium of organisations.

The award is a tribute to the legacy of astronaut John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr., whose contributions “inspired the establishment of the Space Foundation.” A native of Colorado, Swigert was part of the iconic Apollo 13 lunar mission alongside retired U.S. Navy Captain James A. Lovell Jr. and Fred Haise. This mission gained worldwide attention when it faced a critical oxygen tank failure en route to the Moon, resulting in a daring and dramatic return to Earth.


India scripted history with its Chandrayaan-3 mission achieving the “first-ever landing at the unexplored south pole of the Moon, Earth’s natural satellite.” This milestone was accomplished by the Chandrayaan-3’s lander, named Vikram, and the rover, Pragyan, touching down on the lunar surface at 6.04 pm on August 23.

This achievement marks India as the fourth country to successfully execute a “soft landing” on the Moon, following the US, China, and the former Soviet Union.

In recognition of this feat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that August 23 would be National Space Day, commemorating the success of Chandrayaan 3’s Moon landing.

Furthermore, PM Modi declared that the landing site of Chandrayaan 3’s moon lander would be named Shiv Shakti. Six months later, the internationally recognised authority for celestial object nomenclature officially endorsed this designation.


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