Chandrayaan-2 (Photo Credit: ISRO)
Recently, India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft performed the third lunar bound orbit maneuver. Well, another success for India's ambitious Moon mission is awaiting. Yes, you read it right. Notably, Chandrayaan-2 is expected to carry out its final orbit-lowering manoeuver around the moon on Friday (today) evening.
In a statement, ISRO had said that the lunar-bound manoeuvre is planned between 6-7 pm on 30 August using the spacecraft's onboard propulsion system. This fourth and final manoeuvre will move Chandrayaan 2 from its current 179 x 1411 km (nearest x farthest distance) elliptical orbit to a near-circular orbit of 126 x 168 km.
It is worth mentioning here that so far all spacecraft parameters are normal. The next Lunar bound orbit maneuver is scheduled on August 30, 2019 between 1800 - 1900 hrs IST,” the Indian space agency added.
The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft weighs approximately 3290 kilograms and it was launched by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (or GSLV Mk) rocket. Dubbed as ‘Baahubali’, the GSLV Mk-III rocket which stands 43 metres tall. In Chandrayaan-2, a total of 13 payloads are distributed across the three modules where the Orbiter and Vikram Lander are stacked upon each other whereas the Pragyan Rover is housed inside the lander.
Chandrayaan-2 has three elements including the Rover, the Lander and the Orbiter. As soon as the spacecraft will make a soft landing on the moon, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and then perform a series of complex manoeuvres comprising of tough braking and fine braking.
The lander, named Vikram, will land near the Moon’s South Pole and then it will then carry out experiments on Lunar surface for 1 Lunar day. A single lunar day is equal to 14 Earth days. However. Orbiter will continue its mission for a duration of one year.
The historic Chandrayaan-2 mission will target a completely unexplored section of the Moon that is, its “South Polar region - Aitken Basin”. By conducting topographical studies and mineralogical analyses alongside a few other experiments on the Moon’s Surface, the ISRO’s ambitious mission aimed to get a better understanding of the Moon’s origin and its evolution.
Importantly, 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.