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Case Title:

India’s Moon Mission Chandrayaan-3: From Failure to Success

Publication Year : 2024

Authors: Harish R,Sanjib Dutta

Industry: Aerospace & Defense


Case Code: OPM0041

Teaching Note:  Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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At 6.04 pm on August 23, 2023, India achieved the unique and enviable distinction of becoming the first nation to land a spacecraft close to the moon’s south pole. This achievement signalled the successful conclusion of a major endeavour taken up by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). “India is on the Moon,” exulted S Somanath, ISRO’s Chairman, amidst resounding cheers at ISRO’s satellite tracking center near Bengaluru in South India. ISRO had attempted a lunar landing earlier in 2019. At that time, everything seemed to have gone perfectly well almost right up to the very end. However, the lander unexpectedly crashed on the moon’s surface after having gone out of communication and control. By succeeding in its second attempt in 2023, ISRO not only showcased to the world its capability in space technology, but also demonstrated the organization’s ability to bounce back from failure. What were the factors that enabled this? What were the managerial lessons that ISRO could replicate in future projects, that other relevant organizations could follow as well?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the general approach to risk management and the specific lessons on risk management from the Chandrayaan-3 mission
  • To get a grip on the Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) framework by applying it in a qualitative way based on the facts of the case
  • To identify and understand leadership lessons from the case in the context of project management
  • To recognize the kind of organizational culture that can nurture effective management of difficult projects
  • To appreciate the possibility of delivering projects at very low costs, through efficient cost management

Keywords : Space Exploration; Space Research; Moon Mission; Lunar Mission; ISRO; India; Project Management; Operations Management; Risk Management; Leadership; Change Management; Innovation,Indian Space Research Organization; Aerospace; Space Mission

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