ISRO Chief S Somnath is confident that the Chandrayaan-3 mission could catapult India into the list of nations to achieve a controlled landing on the moon. Currently, there are only three countries on that list – Russia, the United States, and China.

Chandrayaan-3 will take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 2.45 pm on Friday. The prime objective of the mission is to land a rover on the moon to explore the lunar surface.

The latest iteration of the Chandrayaan comes four years after an earlier attempt failed, with the ground crew losing contact moments before landing.

“The main lacuna in the last Chandrayaa-2 mission was that there were off-nominal conditions that were initiated in the system,” Mr Somnath tells NDTV in an exclusive interview.

Mr Somanath explained that the new mission has been designed to land successfully even if certain elements fail. “We have added new instruments to handle failures, new algorithms to handle off-nominal situations, new approaches to soft land in case of not-availability, any such measurements and total uncertainty,” he says.

Several scenarios including engine failure, sensor failure, calculation failure, and algorithm failure were examined and measures developed to counteract them.

Even the launch rocket being used is the same one that was used in Chandrayaan 2 mission, but several modifications have been made to make it a better fit for the purpose

Another noticeable difference is the apparatus on the orbiters. While the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter carried 9 instruments, the new orbiter will have a lone in-situ instrument: Spectro-polarimetry of habitable planet Earth (SHAPE).

India’s space programme has grown considerably in size and momentum since it first sent a probe to orbit the moon in 2008.

In 2014, it became the first Asian nation to put a satellite into orbit around Mars, and three years later, the ISRO launched 104 satellites in a single mission.The ISRO’s Gaganyaan programme is slated to launch a three-day manned mission into Earth’s orbit by next year.