Chandrayaan-2 successfully enters Moon’s orbit ahead of September 7 landing

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on Aug 20 2019
Chandrayaan-2 successfully enters Moon’s orbit ahead of September 7 landing

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HIGHLIGHTS

​Chandrayaan-2 successfully enters lunar orbit.

The spacecraft will attain a near-circular orbit of 100 km around the moon.

The Vikram lander will start its descend on September 7.

Almost a month after its lift-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft has entered the lunar orbit. The spacecraft will now revolve around the moon and will start the landing of the Vikram lander on the surface on September 7 around 1.40 AM IST. It is expected to take 15 minutes for Vikram to land on the surface of the moon. The spacecraft has been injected into an elliptical orbit which is 114 km away from the moon’s surface at its nearest point and 18,072 Km at its furthest.

“Today, the Chandrayaan-2 mission crossed a major milestone. The lunar orbit insertion manoeuvre carried out at about 9 am, for about 30 minutes, precisely injected Chandrayaan-2 in a pre-defined orbit (around the moon), in a perfect way… All the systems onboard are functioning normally. The spacecraft is in perfect health,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Sivan said.

In the coming days, the spacecraft will attain a near-circular orbit of 100 km around the moon. At this point, the Vikram lander and along with the small Pragyaan rover will separate from the main module and descent towards the moon’s surface. The separation is scheduled for September 4.

Sivan said that since Vikram will land at the South Pole of the moon, Chandrayaan-2 is needed to attain an orbit that has an inclination of 90 degrees with respect to the lunar equator. “This is a unique requirement that only Chandryaan-2 has… other countries that have landed (their spacecraft, all in the equatorial regions of the moon) did not have this constraint. With today’s manoeuvre, Chandrayaan-2 is now going around the moon in an orbit of 114 km x 18072 km with an inclination of 88 degrees. In due course, this orbit would be brought down to 100km x 100km, and further to 100km x 30km. At that time, the inclination of the orbit would also be 90 degrees,” he said.

What’s next?

On August 21, Chandrayaan-2 will perform a manoeuvre to lower its orbit around the Moon. Once the manoeuvre is successfully completed, Chandrayaan-2 will be in an elliptical orbit in which the probe will be 121 kms away from the orbit's nearest point, and 4,303 kms away from its farthest point. In the following days, the spacecraft will keep on closing the minimum distance till September 2. 

On September 2, the lander, Vikram, will separate from the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft and get into an orbit of its own around the Moon. The lander Vikram carries the Pragyaan rover that will land on South Pole and explore the lunar surface. On September 3, Isro will carry out a manoeuvre to check the health of the lander Vikram. On September 7 at 1:40 AM, the lander Vikram will begin its powered descent on the Moon. Two hours after landing, Vikram will open its ramp to let Pragyaan rover come out and deploy its solar panels to use solar energy to power the systems.

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