Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft moved into a higher orbit around the earth, by performing its second orbit-raising manoeuvre in the early hours of Friday.
The spacecraft, which will attempt to land on moon on September 7, fired its onboard propulsion system for 883 seconds at 0108 hours Friday morning, to move into an elliptical orbit that was 251 km from the earth at its nearest point and 54,829 km at its furthest, a statement from Indian Space Research Organisation said, adding that the spacecraft was performing normally.
This was the second orbit-raising manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 which was launched from the Sriharikota range on Monday. Over the next 10 days, Chandrayaan-2 will raise its orbit three more times, eventually reaching an orbit that would be 233 km at the nearest point and 143,953 km at the furthest. With each orbit-raising manoeuvre, the spacecraft would gain energy that would eventually be adequate for it to leave the orbit around the earth and move towards the moon.
The next orbit-raising manoeuvre is planned for July 29, followed by similar operations on August 2 and August 6. The spacecraft would continue to move in the final earth orbit for eight more days, before breaking out and moving towards the moon on August 14. It is scheduled to enter a lunar orbit on August 20, ISRO said.
While the Orbiter component of Chandrayaan-2 is designed to go around in a lunar orbit 100 km from the moon’s surface for a year, the Vikram lander and Prgayaan rover would separate from the main spacecraft on September 3, move into a lower orbit, and finally descend on the lunar surface on September 7.