Saturday, 24 August, 2019

Chandrayaan-2 successfully leaves earth orbit, begins journey to the moon

An orbit-raising diagram for Chandrayaan 2. Image ISRO An orbit-raising diagram for Chandrayaan 2. Image ISRO
Sandra Phillips | 14 August, 2019, 10:49

On July 22, the Chandrayaan-2 was injected into an elliptical orbit of 170x45,475 km by India's heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) in a text book style. After a 20-minute burning of the liquid engine, Isro (Indian Space Research Organisation) at 2.20am declared that the critical Trans-Lunar Insertion (TLI) operation a success.

The spacecraft is expected to reach the moon's orbit on August 20 and land on lunar surface on September 7.

"The final orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was successfully carried out today at 02:21 am IST".

India's second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is now just six days away from reaching Moon's orbit as another early on Wednesday put the spacecraft on the lunar trajectory.

A series of orbit manoeuvres was carried out using Chandrayaan-2's onboard propulsion system to raise the spacecraft orbit in steps and then place it in the Lunar Transfer Trajectory to enable the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of the moon.

Earlier, the spacecraft's orbit was progressively increased five times during July 23 to August 6, 2019, ISRO said.

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The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft has three modules namely Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan).

The manoeuver, known as translunar insertion (TLI) was carried out at 2.21 am on 14 August, as planned, ISRO shared in a tweet. It would be for the first time, that Indian scientists would attempt a soft landing on the moon, a feat achieved by only four nations so far namely US, Russia and China.

Chandrayaan-2 was initially scheduled to launch on 15 July, but was called off due to a technical snag in its launch vehicle system.

"Two orbit manoeuvers will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 07, 2019", ISRO said. Chandrayaan-2 will now approach the Moon on August 20 and finally land near the south pole of the moon on September 7. This is the main goal of the lunar transfer phase of the mission.

According to the ISRO, the mission objective of Chandrayaan-2 is to develop and demonstrate the key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on the lunar surface. No country has reached this part of the moon so far.

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