India’s ambitious moon mission Chandrayaan 2 on Tuesday successfully entered the lunar orbit making its scheduled landing on the moon on 7 September more realistic. A statement by the Indian Space Research Organisation, also known as ISRO, said that the Lunar Orbit Insertion ‘maneuver was completed successfully today (August 20, 2019).’
“The duration of maneuver was 1738 seconds beginning from 0902 hrs IST. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a Lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114 km x 18072 km,” the statement from ISRO said.
Now that the Chandrayaan 2 has entered the lunar orbit, a series of orbit maneuvres will be performed on the Indian spacecraft to enable it to enter its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the moon’s surface.
Today’s development was described as one of the most complex operations in the ISRO’s mission. A report by NDTV said that the higher than expected 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.
Before the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft’s landing, its lander will separate from the Orbiter and enter into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the moon. Then, it will perform a series of complex braking maneuvres to soft-land in the south polar region of the moon on 7 September, more than 40 days after the launch.
The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, near Bengaluru. All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 are healthy.
ISRO chairman K Sivan said that the Chandrayaan 2 mission crossed a major milestone today adding that ‘the precise lunar orbit insertion maneuver was carried out at 9 am for about 30 minutes and Chandrayaan 2 was precisely inserted in the defined orbit.’
The next Lunar bound orbit maneuver is scheduled for 21 August between 1230-13:30 hrs IST.