India's moon mission placed in lunar orbit

Chandrayaan 2 to enter an orbit around the Moon today two weeks before planned soft landing

An illustration of the orbit-raising to lunar transfer transition of the Chandryaan 2 spacecraft. Image ISRO

After almost 30 days of journey, India's second spacecraft to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, was successfully inserted into the lunar orbit on Tuesday morning.

Chandrayaan-2's speed was trimmed from 2.4 km a second to 2.1 km a second, through commands sent from ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here in Bengaluru as the orbiter-lander-rover moved ever closer to the Moon's orbit. All spacecraft parameters of the spacecraft are normal, ISRO said in a statement.

India's most ambitious space mission to date, Chandrayaan 2 had lifted off from the spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on July 22. It reached in defined lunar orbit at 09.02 am today.

"The duration of (the) manoeuvre was 1,738 seconds". With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a lunar orbit. "The manoeuvre took around 30 minutes and was put in a defined orbit in the ideal manner, now it will be going around the moon with an inclination of 88 degrees".

Now Chandrayaan-2 has entered the Moon's orbit, it will carry out a series of manoeuvres in the coming days before its lander attempts to touch down next month. Vikram lander will separate from the Orbiter and then enter into a 100km x 30km orbit around the Moon. When this orbit period is nearly completed, the Chandrayaan-2 lander (Vikram) will separate from the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft and it plans to slowly land near the moon's south pole.

This is said to be the biggest milestone achieved by Chandrayaan-2 so far.

India's Chandrayaan-2 mission is making moves to get to the moon: The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Tuesday during a challenging insertion maneuver.

According to ISRO, Chandrayaan 2 - India's second lunar expedition - would shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon, its South Polar region.

The lander's powered descent will start at 1.55am on September 7 near the lunar South Pole, he said. The payload consists of three spacecraft: a vehicle created to orbit around the Moon, a lander called Vikram, and a rover called Pragyan.

If profitable, the mission will make India the fourth nation to mushy land a rover on the lunar floor after Russia, US and China. The orbiter has a mission life of a year and will take images of the lunar surface.

Now that the lunar capture, or entry of the spacecraft into lunar orbit, is complete without hitch or glitch, the 13-day (lunar-bound) phase of the mission begins.

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