Updated: September 3, 2019 12:03:39 pm
India’s Chandrayaan-2 successfully completed its fifth and final lunar-bound orbit maneuver on Sunday, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced. In a tweet, the space agency wrote, “The final and fifth Lunar bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (September 01, 2019) at 1821 hrs IST.”
The spacecraft has reached into an orbit that is 119 km from the lunar surface at its nearest point, and 127 km at the farthest. The next operation is the separation of the Vikram lander from the orbiter. Following this, there will be two deorbit maneuvers for the lander to prepare its landing in the south polar region of the moon. It had successfully performed its fourth lunar orbit manoeuvre on Friday.
The final and fifth Lunar bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (September 01, 2019) at 1821 hrs IST.
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— ISRO (@isro) September 1, 2019
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 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.
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.
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