Updated: August 7, 2019 8:05:15 am
The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft moved into a higher orbit around the Earth on Tuesday, completing five manoeuvres in space since its launch on July 22. The orbit raising went as planned, said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
— ISRO (@isro) August 6, 2019
The spacecraft was put in an Earth-bound elliptical orbit, 17 minutes after its launch. It will now prepare to break free from the Earth before it makes the final, and most critical of all — landing of the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover on the lunar surface on September 7.
The 3,850-kg three-module Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft moved into a higher orbit around the earth after firing its onboard propulsion system on August 2 for the fourth time. It had previously moved into higher orbit on July 29, July 26 and July 24.
On Sunday, ISRO released the first set of images of earth captured by Chandrayaan-2, from outer space.
On entering the Moon’s sphere of influence, the onboard propulsion system of Chandrayaan-2 will be fired to slow down the spacecraft. It will enable the spacecraft to be captured into a preliminary orbit around the Moon. Later, Chandrayaan-2 will perform a set of manoeuvres around the moon to be circularised at 100 km height from the lunar surface.
Subsequently, the lander will separate from the orbiter and enter into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the Moon, and then, it will perform a series of “complex braking” manoeuvres to soft-land in the South polar region of the Moon on September 7.
Chandrayaan-2, riding the powerful GSLV Mk-III rocket, was successfully launched at 2.43 pm on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. It was a textbook launch and initial anxiety evaporated 16 minutes 23 seconds later when scientists at mission control broke into applause, signalling that Chandrayaan-2 was now on its own.
The mission, if successful, will make India the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to make a soft landing on the moon.