India’s Chandrayaan 2 successfully enters lunar orbit

Image by the Zee News. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Aug 20, 2019, India Today. Isro has successfully placed Chandrayaan 2 into the lunar orbit on Tuesday morning, thus successfully completing a major hurdle in India’s second Moon mission. Isro has said the significant milestone was achieved after Chandrayaan 2’s liquid engine was ignited for around 1738 seconds, reported the India Today.

Isro has said in a statement, “The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, near Bengaluru. All the systems of Chandrayaan 2 are healthy.”

Isro also said that the next lunar-bound orbit manoeuvres is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21, between 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm.

Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Sivan later addressed the media and said that the orbit entry of Chandrayaan 2 happened perfectly at 9:30 am on Tuesday.

Sivan also said that the lunarcraft had an inclination of 90 degrees for landing. Chandrayaan 2 mission is now moving around the Moon.

The ISRO has so far performed five earth-bound orbit raising manoeuvres.

On August 6, Isro successfully performed the fifth earth-bound orbit raising manoeuvre for Chandryaan 2, using the onboard propulsion system for a firing duration of 1,041 seconds.

Chandrayaan 2 will now be performing 4 more orbit manoeuvres to place the spacecraft into its final orbit before the crucial landing on the lunar surface on September 7.

Isro had said, the four manoeuvres will make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from Moon’s surface.

The next crucial stage after Tuesday’s move will be on September 2 when Vikram, the lander will separate from the orbiter. This will be followed by two more orbit manoeuvres will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 7, ISRO said.

After an initial failed attempt, Chandrayaan 2 was successfully launched on July 22 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle. The Moon mission had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14 after final orbit raising manoeuvre of the spacecraft was successfully carried out.

Isro has said all systems on board Chandrayaan 2 are functioning normally.

While Chandrayaan 1 had confirmed the presence of water on the lunar surface 11 years ago, Chandrayaan 2 will be the first time India lands on the Moon. The second Moon mission will be exploring the uncharted south pole of the Moon and help scientists understand the origin and evolution of the Moon.

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