Chandrayaan exits Earth orbit, enters Moon path
The orbit of Chandrayaan-2 has been raised five times using an on-board propulsion system [a machine to push the spacecraft forward] between July 23 and August 6, since its launch on July 22.Updated: Aug 15, 2019 00:30 IST
India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, left the Earth’s orbit to enter the path towards the moon at 2.21 am on Wednesday.
This is the final orbit-raising manoeuvre of the spacecraft for its insertion into what the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) calls the “lunar transfer trajectory”.
The orbit of Chandrayaan-2 has been raised five times using an on-board propulsion system [a machine to push the spacecraft forward] between July 23 and August 6, since its launch on July 22.
“Chandrayaan-2 will approach the moon on August 20 and the spacecraft’s liquid engine will be fired again to insert the spacecraft into a lunar orbit,” said a statement issued by ISRO on Wednesday. “Following this, there will be four more orbit manoeuvres to make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit, passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the moon’s surface”.
The space agency said all systems of the spacecraft are functioning normally. “Today’s manoeuvre was a precision manoeuvre. We had only one chance to do it. In that one chance we made, it happened precisely. Now the spacecraft is moving towards the moon. On August 20, it will reach the moon’s orbit. That’s our plan,” said ISRO chairman K Sivan.
As was done on the Earth’s orbit, the scientists will have to carry out four more “burns” or firing of the on-board propulsion engines to get the spacecraft into an orbit around the moon.
After entering the moon’s orbit, the spacecraft will raise its orbit four times on August 21, August 28, August 30 and September 1.
The landing on the moon is scheduled for September 7 at 2.58 am, after which the lander (Vikram) will separate from the orbiter and perform a series of complex manoeuvres comprising “rough braking and fine braking”.
Imaging will be done to find a safe zone prior to landing. Chandrayaan-2 will then attempt to soft-land Vikram in a high plain between two craters — Manzinus C and Simpelius N — on the south pole of the moon.
The rover (Pragyan) will roll out and carry out experiments on lunar surface for a period of one lunar day, which is equal to 14 Earth days. The mission life of Vikram is also one lunar day.
The orbiter will continue its mission for one year, according to the ISRO.
First Published: Aug 15, 2019 00:30 IST