India moves closer to the moon after Chandrayaan-2, successfully enters the orbit of the moon in the early hours of August 20, Tuesday, after completing 30 days of the journey in space.
— ISRO (@isro) August 20, 2019
Isro has officially confirmed in a statement that: “Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) maneuvre was completed successfully today (August 20, 2019) at 0902 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of maneuvre was 1738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a Lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114 km x 18072 km.”
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— ISRO (@isro) August 20, 2019
On Monday, ISRO chairman, K Sivan had called this step “challenging”. This was one of the trickiest operations in the mission because this particular step needed extreme precision. If the satellite would have approached the moon as a higher-than-expected velocity it would have bounced off it and got lost in deep space. Meanwhile, if it would have approached at a slow velocity, the moon’s gravity would pull the Chandrayaan-2 and it would have crashed into the surface.
Lander will separate on 2nd September, which will be the next major event in Chandrayaan 2’s journey. The moon landing is expected on 7th September at 4 AM.
Chandrayaan-2, since its launch on July 22 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, had been in the orbit of the Earth. There were a series of orbit-raising, the spacecraft progressed five times on the orbit from July 23 to August 6 before it left the Earth’s orbit this week when the final orbit-raising was done. In fact, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had earlier this month released the first set of images of Earth captured by Chandrayaan-2.
— ISRO (@isro) August 4, 2019
It had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14 after final orbit raising maneuvre of the spacecraft was successfully carried out.
The next Lunar bound orbital maneuvre, otherwise known as a burn, is scheduled tomorrow for August 21, 2019, between 1230-13:30 hrs IST. There will be four more burns, which will take the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into its final orbit of the Moon. This process of maneuvring in the lunar orbit will be taking place from August 21 to September 1.
After the last maneuver on September 1, Chandrayaan-2 is likely to be in a 114 kmX 128km orbit. After reaching the desired orbit around Moon, the Vikram Lander will separate from the orbiter on September 02. Two orbit maneuvres will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the surface of the moon on September 7.
Once the Vikram lander has successfully landed on the surface, the Pragyan rover will do the exploration. This is a six-wheeled, AI-powered vehicle, which will collect data from the Moon’s surface. The rover has two primary instruments. The Lander and Rover are designed to work for 14 days, which is one lunar day.
Isro had already put a satellite around Moon in 2008 (Chandrayaan-1) therefore the more crucial part of Chandrayaan-2 would be to land Vikram, it’s lander on Moon. The Vikram lander will be landing on the southern pole of the Moon which has so far been unexplored.
If the mission turns out to be successful India would be the fourth country to land on the moon. Previously the US, the former Soviet Union and China were the ones to have successfully accomplished the moon landing.
In a major feat, the Chandrayaan 2 mission, which has cost India Rs 978 crores, is actually cheaper than Hollywood blockbusters like Avengers Infinity Wars and Bandra Worli Sea Link.