The Indian Space Research Organisation said on Monday that the Vikram lander has made another soft landing on the moon’s surface as part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

The lander fired its engines, elevated itself by about 40 centimetres, and landed safely 30-40 centimetres away in a “hop experiment”, the space agency said.

“Importance? This ‘kick-start’ enthuses future sample return and human missions!” ISRO said on X, formerly known as Twitter. The Vikram lander has now exceeded its mission objectives, it remarked.

A ramp fixed to the lander and its ChaSTE and ILSA systems were folded back and then redeployed successfully after the experiment, ISRO added.

ChaSTE, short for Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment, measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the south pole. The ILSA, or Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity, payload aims to measure ground vibrations generated by natural quakes, impacts, and artificial events.

Later in the evening, ISRO announced that the Vikram lander has been put into sleep mode.

“Prior to that, in-situ experiments by ChaSTE, RAMBHA-LP, and ILSA payloads are performed at the new location,” the space agency wrote on X. “The data collected is received at the Earth.”

It added that Vikram will “fall asleep” next to Pragyan, which was also set into sleep mode on September 2. “Hoping for their awakening around September 22, 2023,” the space agency said.

On August 23, India made history by becoming the first country to land a spacecraft near the south pole of the moon. After the landing, the Pragyan rover had come down the ramp from the lander to begin data collection. The rover searched for signs of frozen water that could help astronaut missions in the future.

On August 28, the rover detected sulphur and several other elements near the south pole of the moon. Sulphur is known to originate in volcanic activities. The presence of the element on the moon can provide more insights into the formation and evolution of the earth’s natural satellite.

ISRO said on September 2 that the Pragyan rover completed its assignments, after which it was safely parked and set into sleep mode.

“The solar panel is oriented to receive the light at the next sunrise expected on September 22, 2023,” it said. “The receiver is kept on. Hoping for a successful awakening for another set of assignments! Else, it will forever stay there as India’s lunar ambassador.”

On the same day, ISRO launched Aditya-1, its first mission to study the sun, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. It is designed to cover a distance of about 1.5 million kilometers from the earth over four months and will then be placed in an orbit around the Lagrange Point 1, which is considered closest to the sun.