Chandrayaan-3 undergoes another orbit reduction maneuver, gets closer to Moon’s surface

Bengaluru: Chandrayaan-3 ventured closer to the lunar surface on Monday with another successful maneuver of the spacecraft by ISRO, the national space agency said.

The Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said the spacecraft has now achieved a “near-circular orbit” around the Moon.

Post its launch on July 14, Chandrayaan-3, the country’s ambitious third Moon mission, had entered into lunar orbit on August 5, following which two orbit reduction maneuvers were carried out on the spacecraft on August 6 and 9.

“Orbit circularisation phase commences. Precise maneuver performed today has achieved a near-circular orbit of 150 km x 177 km,” ISRO said in a tweet. The next operation is planned for August 16, around 08.30 am, it said.

As the mission progresses, a series of maneuvers is being conducted by ISRO to gradually reduce Chandrayaan-3’s orbit and position it over the lunar poles.

According to ISRO sources, one more maneuver will be performed on the spacecraft on August 16 to reach 100 km orbit, following which the landing module, comprising the lander and rover will break away from the propulsion module.

After this, the lander is expected to undergo a “deboost” (the process of slowing down) and make a soft landing on the south polar region of the Moon on August 23.