The orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 has successfully reached its final orbit around the moon, following a copybook style orbit reduction manoeuvre this evening. A release from the national space agency ISRO says, the burn of the engine onboard the orbiter has been initiated at 6.21 pm, which lasted for 52 seconds.
It helped the orbiter to reach a near-circular polar ‘119 by 127’ kilometre orbit. All the spacecraft parameters were observed to be normal.
The orbiter will continue to revolve around the moon in the same path for more than a year, taking images of the lunar terrain and collecting data on the moon’s exosphere, that is, its outer atmosphere.
The lander of Chandrayaan-2 named Vikram will separate from the orbiter tomorrow, at an optimal time between 12.45 pm to 1.45 pm. The lander has been named after the father of India’s space programmes Dr Vikram Sarabhai.
The lander, under the impact of its initial speed, will also begin to revolve around the moon at first, with gradually decreasing radius.
To nudge the lunar craft to de-orbit and move directly towards the moon’s surface, two short-duration manoeuvres will be made on coming Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
The ISRO release says, the powered descent of the lander, which is in effect a controlled movement, will be initiated early in the morning on 7th September, culminating in its much-awaited soft-landing on the near-South Pole of the moon.
After a few hours of soft-landing, the rover would come out of the lander’s belly and probe the nature of the lunar soil around its path. Once the mission is realized, India will enter into the list of nations having soft-landed their probes as the fourth member.
As the series of manoeuvres to alter its flying paths have got over with the operation this evening, from now on, the ISRO scientists will concentrate on navigating the lander to the surface of the moon.
The lunar craft’s journey so far has been made with textbook precision, and the days ahead till September 7 have still more significant moves in store. India’s second expedition to the moon is set to unravel many hidden secrets of the moon, as it is aiming for the uncharted territory.