The cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle, which was instrumental in the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft’s successful deployment into its assigned orbit on July 14, 2023, has successfully completed an uncontrolled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, according to an announcement made by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).
The event occurred at approximately 14:42 IST on Wednesday.
This specific rocket body was a crucial part of Isro’s ambitious lunar exploration program, which included the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle.
The re-entry occurred 124 days after launch, demonstrating adherence to the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee’s (IADC) “25-year rule”. By mandating that retired satellites and rocket stages in low-Earth orbit reenter the atmosphere within 25 years of their last mission, this regulation aims to reduce space trash.
“Passivation” was the procedure the upper stage went through to get ready for this re-entry. In order to greatly lower the possibility of unintentional explosions, this technique entails the removal of all remaining propellants and potential energy sources within the expended stage.
Such measures are in line with the stringent space debris mitigation guidelines prescribed by both the United Nations and IADC.