The Chandrayaan-2 mission has to clear several complicated procedures before starting its work. ISRO chairman K Sivan said the spacecraft has to undergo at least 15 complex manoeuvres over the next one-and-half months before the final, and most critical of all — the landing of the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover on the lunar surface on September 7.
Most manoeuvres will be performed in the first 25 days when the spacecraft will incrementally raise its orbit around the earth, and gain strength for the journey to the moon.
These are the crucial phases of the mission:
July 22 to August 13: On Monday, Chandrayaan-2 was in an orbit which, at its nearest, was 170 km from earth, and, at its furthest, 39,120 km. It will undergo at least five orbit raising manoeuvres over the next 20 days.
August 13: Leaves earth orbit, and begins its seven-day journey to the lunar orbit.
August 20: Enters lunar orbit. Starts circling the moon at a distance of 100 km.
For signs of water
The search for water on the moon is one of the main objectives of Chandrayaan-2. At least three of 14 instruments on board will look for additional evidence and signs of water. Two camera-based instruments and one synthetic aperture radar will prepare different kinds of high-resolution lunar maps. At least four instruments will study the composition of the lunar surface, and try to detect the different minerals and elements present there.
September 2: Vikram and Pragyan will separate from the orbiter, lower themselves in an orbit closer to the moon and continue to go around it.
September 7: The final descent to the lunar surface. This should take 10-20 minutes, depending on how soon Vikram is able to find a suitable landing place. It has cameras on board to guide it, and avoid landing in a crater. The same day, Pragyan will emerge from Vikram and start roaming the lunar surface at an extremely slow pace of 1 cm per second.
Vikram and Pragyan will be operational for 14 days. The orbiter will have a life of one year.