Chandrayaan 2: First orbit-raising of spacecraft performed successfully, ISRO confirms

The spacecraft will undergo a series of in-orbit manoeuvres in weeks to come to bring it in the vicinity of the moon.

The first earth-bound orbit-raising manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully on Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation said.

The manoeuvre was carried out at 2.52 pm using the onboard propulsion system for a firing duration of 57 seconds, two days after the successful launch into elliptical Earth orbit of 170 x 45,475 km, ISRO said. The new orbit will be 230 X 45163 km, the space agency said.

According to ISRO, the second orbit raising manoeuvre is scheduled in the early hours of Friday at about 1 am IST.

Illustration of the orbit-raising of the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft in its Earth-bound phase. Image: ISRO

Illustration of the orbit-raising of the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft in its Earth-bound phase. Image: ISRO

India had on Monday launched the country's second moon mission Chandrayaan 2 on-board its powerful rocket GSLV-MkIII-M1 from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh with the aim of landing a rover in the unexplored lunar south pole.

The 3,850-kg Chandrayaan 2, a three-module spacecraft comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, has been injected into the earth's orbit.

It will be subjected to a series of orbit manoeuvres in the coming weeks to take it to the vicinity of the moon, with the rover soft landing planned on September 7.

"Further major activities include Earth-bound manoeuvres, Trans Lunar Insertion, Lunar bound manoeuvres, Vikram Separation and Vikram Touch Down," the space agency said.

As per the schedule, Vikram, the moon lander will soft-land on the moon and then Pragyaan will roll out to explore the moon surface.

The ISRO is aiming for a soft landing of the lander (spacecraft) in the South Pole region of the moon where no country has gone so far.

The space agency said the earth-bound manoeuvres are planned to be executed from Wednesday onwards culminating into Trans Lunar Insertion scheduled on August 14, 2019, which will send the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft to the moon.

In a giant leap for the country's ambitious low-cost space programme, ISRO has undertaken the most complex and its prestigious mission ever aimed at landing the rover on the moon.

If successful, it will make India the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to pull off a soft landing on the moon.

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