Chandrayaan 2 nails third of five orbit-lowering manoeuvres before entering moon's orbit
From 2 September, all eyes will be on the lander, Dr Sivan said, much like a bridegroom on her wedding.
The second moon mission from India, Chandrayaan 2, has successfully carried out a series of orbit manueovres to lower its orbit around the moon for a third time, ISRO confirmed in a tweet. The lunar-bound manueovre was started at 9.04 am on 28 August using the onboard propulsion system, and lasted 1190 seconds. This third or five orbit-lowering manoeuvre gas placed Chandrayaan 2 in a 179km x 1411 km (nearest x farthest distance) elliptical orbit, and ISRO has said that all parameters of the spacecraft seem to be healthy.
The Chandrayaan 2 composite has carried out three successful in-orbit manueovres since it entered lunar orbit — all in an attempt to lower its altitude in preparation to land. The final orbit manueovre, planned for 6-7 pm IST on 30 August, will put Chandrayaan 2 on a 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 spacecraft, which was earlier in an elliptical 118 x 4412 km (nearest x farthest distance) orbit around the moon before the successful manoeuvre is now in a 100 x 100 km circular orbit. This is close enough for the separation and landing sequences that are planned for 2 September and 7 September, respectively.
Third Lunar bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (August 28, 2019) at 0904 hrs IST.
— ISRO (@isro) August 28, 2019
The next manoeuvre in lunar orbit is scheduled for 30 August, ISRO has said, following by the Vikram lander's pre-landing manueovres on 1 September and separation on 2 September. 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.
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Chandrayaan 2 is expected to make a long-awaited powered descent & landing on 7 Sept at 1.40 am.
The attained circular orbit will be close enough for the Vikram lander, currently bound to the orbiter in a 'composite', to separate.
NASA used an approach used to find new meteorite impacts on the Moon, which also helped locate the crashed Beresheet lander.