Chandrayaan 2: ISRO performs 2nd lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre

Bengaluru: ISRO on Wednesday said it has performed the second lunar-bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft that is currently in the lunar orbit for its rendezvous with the Moon. All spacecraft parameters are normal, the Bengaluru headquartered space agency said after the maneuver.

“Second Lunar bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (August 21, 2019) beginning at 1250 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of the maneuver was 1228seconds. The orbit achieved is 118 km x 4412 km,” ISRO said.

The next Lunar bound orbit maneuver is scheduled on 28 August 2019 between 0530 – 0630 hrs IST. In a major milestone for India’s second Moon mission, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft successfully entered the lunar orbit on Tuesday by performing Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) maneuver.

There will be three 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. ISRO has said subsequently the lander will separate from the Orbiter on 2 September and enter into a 100 km X30 km orbit around the Moon.

Then it will perform a series of complex braking maneuvers to soft land in the South polar region of the Moon on 7 September 2019. ISRO Chairman K Sivan has said the proposed soft-landing on the Moon is going to be a terrifying moment as it is something ISRO has not done before, where as LOI maneuver was successfully carried out during the Chandrayaan-1 mission.

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 space agency has said.

India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1 had successfully launched the 3,840-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into the earth’s orbit on 22 July. Following the landing, the rover ‘Pragyan‘ will rollout from lander ‘Vikram‘ and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of one lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days.

The mission life of the lander is also one lunar day, while the orbiter will continue its mission for a year. The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon while the lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments.

The rover carries two payloads to enhance the understanding of the lunar surface. India’s second lunar expedition – would shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon, its South Polar region. According to ISRO, the mission objective of Chandrayaan-2 is to develop and demonstrate the key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on the lunar surface.

On the science front, this mission aims to further expand the knowledge about the moon through a detailed study of its topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics and atmosphere, leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the moon, the space agency had said.