The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft is expected to reach the moon’s orbit on August 20 and land on lunar surface on September 7.
India’s lunar lander- orbiter craft ‘Chandrayaan-2’ was put in the path of moon, some 3.84 lakh km away, in the wee hours of Wednesday, ISRO said.
Its orbit was raised for the sixth and last time on the earth side from ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru at 2.21 a.m.
Post operation, the spacecraft is functioning normally, ISRO said.
“Today (August 14, 2019) after the Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) maneuver operation, #Chandrayaan2 will depart from Earth’s orbit and move towards the Moon (sic),” the ISRO tweeted.
It will travel for the next seven days and get close to moon on August 20, when its orbit will be altered frequently to make it revolve around moon. The spacecraft carries lander Vikram and rover Pragyan on it. The mission is the country’s first lunar soft-landing attempt. The landing itself is slated for September 7.
The Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said it has carried out a manoeuvre called ‘Trans Lunar Insertion’ (TLI) following which the spacecraft has successfully entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory. “During the final orbit raising of the spacecraft around the earth, the liquid engine was fired for about 1203 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory,” the space agency said.
According to ISRO, after 13 days of Moon-bound orbit phase, the lander ‘Vikram’ carrying rover ‘Pragyan’ will separate and after another few days of orbiting will soft land on September 7 in the South Pole region of the Moon, where no country has gone so far, according to the ISRO.
If successful, the mission will make India the fourth country after Russia, the U.S. and China to pull off a soft landing on the Moon.
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. A passive experiment from NASA will also be carried onboard Chandrayaan-2, ISRO has said.
Following the landing, the rover will roll out from the lander and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for 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.
According to the 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.
It also 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.