India’s second Moon exploration mission, the Chandrayaan-2, went through its second lunar bound orbit manoeuvre today at 12:50 hours IST. With this latest orbit manoeuvre, the spacecraft inched a step closer to the surface of the Earth’s satellite. The spacecraft is now placed in the next orbit of the Moon or Lunar Bound Phase 2 (LBN#2) that is 118 km away from the moon’s surface at its nearest point and 4,412 km at its farthest.
The duration of today’s manoeuvre was 1228 seconds and the orbit achieved is 118 km x 4412 km. All spacecraft parameters of the spacecraft are normal, ISRO said in a statement.
— ISRO (@isro) August 21, 2019
Chandrayaan-2 will now go through another three such lunar orbit manoeuvres till the spacecraft attains a near-circular orbit of 100 km around the moon. The next lunar orbit manoeuvre is scheduled to take place on August 28 in between 05:30-06:30 hours IST.
Once it reaches this point, the Vikram lander carrying the small Pragyaan rover, will get separated from the main composite module and start its incremental descent towards the surface of the Moon. The separation is scheduled to take place on September 4, after which the lander and rover would position themselves in a lower orbit.
The landing is planned to take place at 01:40 hours IST on September 7. The main spacecraft module would continue to go around the moon in its orbit for at least one full year.
To recall, on Tuesday, 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. It is India’s second Moon mission and first lander mission to the moon.
There were a series of orbit-raising manoeuvres on the Earth’s orbit, the spacecraft progressed five times on the planet’s orbit from July 23 to August 6 before it left the orbit last week when the final orbit-raising was done. ISRO had earlier this month released the first set of images of Earth captured by Chandrayaan-2.