Chandrayaan 2 edges closer to moon's surface after completing second orbital manoeuvre
The spacecraft is expected to make its long-awaited descent & landing on 7 September, starting 1.40 am.
India's second moon exploration mission Chandrayaan 2, successfully completed its second orbital manoeuvre in lunar orbit today. The critical manoeuvre was begun at 12.50 pm IST, using the onboard propulsion system. It lasted about 20 minutes, during which time the spacecraft was brought closer to the lunar surface. The spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Tuesday, 20 August after a week sojourn from liftoff.
— ISRO (@isro) August 21, 2019
The manoeuvre lasted exactly 1228 seconds, and the final orbit achieved was 118 x 4412 km (nearest x farthest distance). The space agency said all the parameters of the craft are normal. The series of orbit manoeuvres will enable Chandrayaan 2 to enter its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the moon's surface, ISRO said.
The next manoeuvre in lunar orbit is scheduled for 28 August, ISRO has said, following by two more on 30 August and 1 September. Each of these manoeuvers will lower the orbital altitude of Chandrayaan 2 in preparation for landing. From 2nd September, all eyes will be on the lander, Dr Sivan said, much like a bridegroom on her wedding.
On 3 and 4 September, the first maps of the landing site will be created to ensure the landing site is as safe as previously thought to make a soft-landing. This is crucial since ISRO's mission engineers won't be operating the spacecraft remotely. This is an important part of the orbiter's mission: surveilling its year-long home for the first time, ensuring that no damage was caused to its instruments on the journey thus far, and a thorough examination of the Vikram lander's landing site at the moon's South Polar region.
However, some space experts believe regaining link with the lander now appears extremely difficult.
Chandrayaan 2 to attempt historic soft-landing at 1.40 am on 7 Sep after lowering its orbit gradually: ISRO chairman
During descent & landing, Chandrayaan 2 will exercise "throttlable control" over the engine's thrusters — a first for ISRO.
The mission is expected to land at 1.55am IST on the morning of 7 September, says the Chairman.