Chandrayaan 2 hours away from lander, orbiter separation, expected by 1.45 pm today

If successful, the Vikram lander will be put on a separate, circular path identical to the orbiter.


Chandrayaan 2 — ISRO's second moon mission — completed its final orbit-lowering manoeuvre yesterday (1 September) evening. Now, the next step is the separation of the landing module (the Vikram lander with the Pragyan rover inside it), which is scheduled for today (2 September) between 12.45 and 1.45 pm IST.

If successful, the Vikram lander will then be put on a separate, circular path identical to the orbiter, passing over the lunar poles at a distance of roughly 100 km from the surface.

By attaining a near-circular orbit, there are only three more mission milestones before the Vikram lander attempts its planned soft-landing on the moon's surface on 7 September at 1.55 am IST. This includes two deorbit (orbit-lowering) manoeuvres on 3 and 4 September and its powered descent from an elliptical orbit of 36 x 110 km between 1.30-2.30 am on 7 September.

Chandrayaan 2 hours away from lander, orbiter separation, expected by 1.45 pm today

Chandrayaan 2 composite orbiting the moon before the lander's separation. Image: ISRO

Over the course of the next few days, the first maps of the landing site will be created (planned for 3 and 4 September) by the Vikram lander to ensure the landing site is safe, as previously thought, to make a soft-landing. This is a crucial step in the mission since ISRO's mission engineers won't be operating the spacecraft remotely from the control centre.

The orbiter will also be surveilling its year-long home for the first time, ensuring that no damage was caused to its instruments on the journey so far and conducting a thorough examination of the Vikram lander's landing site at the moon's South Polar region.

While subsequent events in the mission won't be streamed live, you can catch live updates on the mission on our dedicated Chandrayaan 2 domain, our Twitter pageISRO's website, or Twitter page.