After successfully performing its fourth lunar orbit manoeuvre on Friday, Chandrayaan-2, India’s first lunar lander mission, is a step closer to the moon. The Chandrayaan-2 will now go through one final orbit manoeuvre. This next lunar orbit manoeuvre is scheduled to be performed on Sunday, September 1 between 18:00-19:00 hours IST. The spacecraft has reached into an orbit that is 124 km from the lunar surface at its nearest point, and 164 km at the farthest.
What is the next step for Chandrayaan-2
The mission has a few more milestones to cross before the Lander and Rover components of the spacecraft, called Vikram and Pragyaan respectively, make a soft landing on the Moon’s surface on September 7.
September 1: The next and the last orbit manoeuvre is scheduled between 6-7 pm on Sunday. This will make the spacecraft enter its final orbit, passing over the lunar pole at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon’s surface.
September 2: The lander will separate from the Orbiter and enter into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the Moon. It will then perform a series of complex manoeuvres.
September 7: The Lander and Rover components of the spacecraft will make a soft landing in the South polar region of the Moon, unexplored by science so far. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the south pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area here that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the north pole. There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it.
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.
On August 20, Chandrayaan-2 mission crossed a key milestone in its journey to the Moon, after it entered the lunar orbit, almost 30 days after being launched on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
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.