Chandrayaan-2, which has been moving in a lunar orbit since August 20, today moved closer to the Moon, positioning itself in a new lower orbit around the Moon. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the spacecraft lowered itself in an elliptical orbit that was 179 km from the moon’s surface at its nearest point, and 1412 km at the furthest.
The lowering of orbit began 09:04 am this morning and took close to 20 minutes. All spacecraft parameters of the spacecraft are normal, ISRO said in a statement.
Chandrayaan-2, India’s first attempt to soft land on the Moon, was launched on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. Its lander and rover modules are due to separate from the main spacecraft on September 3 and make a landing on Moon’s surface in the early hours of September 7.
However, before that, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft has to move much closer to the moon, through two more operations similar to the one carried out today. The next orbit-lowering exercise will happen on Saturday, August 30 in between 18:00-19:00 hours IST.
Third Lunar bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (August 28, 2019) at 0904 hrs IST.
— ISRO (@isro) August 28, 2019
To recall, last week Chandrayaan-2 had successfully completed its second orbit manoeuvre or Lunar Bound Phase 2 (LBN#2) after which the spacecraft got placed in the orbit that is 118 km away from the Moon’s surface at its nearest point and 4,412 km at its farthest, ISRO said last week.
Earlier this week, ISRO had also released a set of pictures showing the surface of the Moon using the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2) installed on Chandrayaan-2. images were clicked from an altitude of about 4,375 kilometres from the lunar surface and show craters such as Jackson, Mach, Korolev and Mitra, the Indian space agency said.
It isn’t the first time that ISRO has released the images clicked by the Chandrayaan-2 mission. Only last week images of the Moon as captured by Chandrayaan-2 were also shared and prior to that, it had also clicked a few images of the Earth while the spacecraft was orbiting around the planet. Here are the previous photos that Chandrayaan-2 has clicked.