India has surpassed China as the country with the most active spacecraft orbiting the moon with the successful separation of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft's landing module from the propulsion module. The lander module, which consists of the lander Vikram and the rover Pragyan, will orbit the Moon up to its gentle landing on the south pole on August 23.

For months or years, the propulsion module will also continue its voyage in the same orbit. In order to gather signs of exoplanets that might be suitable for habitability, the SHAPE (Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth) payload onboard the propulsion module would conduct a spectroscopic study of the Earth's atmosphere and measure variations in polarisation from the clouds on Earth.

India's Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is still operational in addition to the propulsion and lander modules, bringing the total number of operational spacecraft to three. As a result, there are now nine operating lunar orbiters, up from six a month ago. There were six operating lunar orbiters as of July, although Chandryaan-3 from India and Luna-25 from Russia joined the lunar orbit later. On August 5, Chandryaan-3 reached the lunar orbit, and on August 16, Luna-25 did the same.

Six spacecraft, including Chandryaan-3 and Luna-25, Chandrayaan-2 from India, KPLO from Korea, and THEMIS-B, THEMIS-C, LRO, and CAPSTONE from NASA are orbiting the Moon.

The Moon is orbited by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in a nearly polar, slightly elliptical orbit. In polar orbits of 100 km height, Chandrayaan-2 and the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) also function.

The two defunct spacecraft are Chandrayaan-1, which was launched in 2008, and Ouna, which Japan launched in 2009 as part of its moon mission. According to the assessment, all of the other orbiters have either been purposefully relocated out of the moon-bound orbital domain or have landed or struck the lunar surface.

"For example, Chang'e 4 mission's data relay satellite Queqiao, launched by China in May 2018, was later moved to a halo orbit near the Earth-Moon L2 point," the Indian space agency said. "Currently, the only operating rover is China's Yutu-2 released by Chang'e 4, which operates on the far side."