Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.

CNN  — 

India is bidding to become only the fourth country to execute a controlled landing on the moon with the successful launch Friday of its Chandrayaan-3 mission.

Chandrayaan, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota in southern Andhra Pradesh state at just after 2:30 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET).

Crowds gathered at the space center to watch the history-making launch and more than 1 million people tuned in to watch on YouTube.

The Indian Space Research Organization confirmed on Twitter later Friday that Chandrayaan-3 is in “precise orbit” and has “begun its journey to the moon.”

It added that the health of the spacecraft is “normal.”

In response, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Chandrayaan-3 scripts a new chapter in India’s space odyssey. It soars high, elevating the dreams and ambitions of a every Indian. This momentous achievement is a testament to our scientists’ relentless dedication. I salute their spirit and ingenuity!”

The craft is expected to land on the moon on August 23.

It’s India’s second attempt at a soft landing, after its previous effort with the Chandrayaan-2 in 2019 failed. Its first lunar probe, the Chandrayaan-1, orbited the moon and was then deliberately crash-landed onto the lunar surface in 2008.

Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-3, the word for "moon craft" in Sanskrit, blasts off.