Chandrayaan-2 successfully enters orbit around Moon

Bengaluru: In a major milestone in India’s Moon mission, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft successfully entered the lunar orbit today.

Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuvre was completed successfully at 0902 hours as planned, using the onboard propulsion system, the Bengaluru headquartered space agency said in a statement.

“The duration of manoeuvre was 1,738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a Lunar orbit,” ISRO said.

Following this, a series of orbit manoeuvres will be performed on Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft to enable it to enter its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon’s surface, it said.

Subsequently, the Lander will separate from the Orbiter and enter into a 100-km X 30-km orbit around the Moon. Then, it will perform a series of complex braking manoeuvres to soft land in the south polar region of the Moon on 7 September, ISRO stated.

The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru, with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, near Bengaluru.

The next Lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre is scheduled for tomorrow between 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm, ISRO said.

Chandrayaan-2, launched 22 July by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, had entered the Lunar transfer trajectory 14 August.

According to ISRO, Chandrayaan-2 — India’s second lunar expedition — will shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon, its south polar region. “This mission will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface,” the space agency had said.

“While there, we will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan-1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition,” it was stated.

Chandrayaan-2 comprises an Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyaan). The mission life of the Orbiter will be one year whereas the mission life of lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan) will be one Lunar day which is equal to 14 earth days.

NT Bureau