Chandrayaan 2 is expected to make its long-awaited powered descent and landing on 7 September (Image: PTI)
Chandrayaan 2 successfully completed the fourth lunar bound orbit maneuver on Friday. According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the maneuver that began at 1818 hrs IST went as planned using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of the maneuver was 1155 seconds. The orbit achieved is 124 km x 164 km.
"All spacecraft parameters are normal. The next Lunar bound orbit maneuver is scheduled on September 01, 2019 between 1800 - 1900 hrs IST," the Indian space agency added.
Chandrayaan 2 is expected to make its long-awaited powered descent and landing on 7 September at 1.40 am IST in a landing sequence that the ISRO Chief describes as '15 minutes of terror'.
This maneuver will put the spacecraft on a circular path that passes over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the surface. Entering this circular orbit is the mission's final milestone before the Vikram lander separates from the orbiter to make its planned soft-landing on the moon's surface on 7 September.
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 stands at 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.