India's second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 on Monday successfully raised its orbit around the Earth for the third time early, taking the spacecraft one step closer to the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
The third earth bound orbit raising maneuver for the most complex mission, as dubbed by ISRO, has been performed at 15:12 hrs (IST), using the onboard propulsion system for a firing duration of 989 seconds.
With this, the spacecraft was pushed to an orbit of 276 x 71792 kilometres, the space agency said, adding that all the parameters of the spacecraft were normal.
While the first one was performed on July 24, the second one was held on July 26. The fourth orbit raising maneuver is scheduled to be conducted on August 2 between 14:00 and 15:00 hrs (IST).
The much ambitious project of sending a spacecraft with a moon lander and a rover was launched on July 22. ISRO is aiming for a soft landing of the lander in the South Pole region of the Moon where no country has gone so far.
The fourth "Earth-bound manoeuvre", slated for August 2, will be the last operation planned before the spacecraft shoots off towards the Moon on August 14.
If successful, the mission will make India the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to pull off a soft landing on the Moon.