Chandrayaan-2 has been successfully manoeuvred into lunar orbit on Tuesday early morning, after nearly 30 days of interstellar travel, as per media reports.
This was one of the trickiest operations in India’s ambitious lunar mission till date.
A higher-than-expected approach velocity would have bounced off the spacecraft into deep space, while a slow approach would have led to the moon’s gravity to pull Chandrayaan-2 and crash it on the lunar surface.
The approach velocity and altitude had to be just right over the moon.
Following the Tuesday’s move, there will be further four-orbit manoeuvres to make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from Moon’s surface, ISRO has said.
Subsequently, the Vikram lander will separate from the orbiter on September 2, according to the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency.
Two 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.
Chandrayaan-2, launched on July 22 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14 after final orbit raising manoeuvre of the spacecraft was successfully carried out.
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 Byalalu, near Bengaluru.
All systems onboard Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft are performing normal, ISRO said on August 14.
According to ISRO, Chandrayaan-2 India’s second lunar expedition will shed light on a completely unexplored region of the Moon, it’s South Pole.
“This mission will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface,” the space agency has said.
“While there, we will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition,” it said.