Chandrayaan 2: Third orbit-raising of spacecraft completed successfully, ISRO confirms

ISRO reported that the spacecraft's parameters were normal, and that the fourth orbit-raising is scheduled for 2 August.


The third of five earth-bound orbit-raising manoeuvres of the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft has been successfully completed Monday afternoon, as planned, the Indian Space Research Organisation confirmed in a tweet.

The manoeuvre was carried out at 3.12 pm IST using the onboard propulsion system for a firing duration of 989 seconds (~16 minutes), two days after the second orbit-raising was completed, placing the spacecraft in a 276 X 71,792 km orbit (nearest x furthest Earth-bound altitude), according to ISRO. The final orbit achieved by the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft after the second orbit-raising is 251 x 54,829 km.

ISRO also reported that all the spacecraft parameters were normal, and that the fourth orbit-raising is scheduled for the early afternoon on 2 August at 2 - 3 pm IST.

Chandrayaan 2: Third orbit-raising of spacecraft completed successfully, ISRO confirms

On 22 July, India launched the country's second moon mission, Chandrayaan 2, aboard the most powerful rocket in ISRO's arsenal, the GSLV-MkIII-M1, from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The mission was primarily aimed at landing a rover in the unexplored lunar south pole. The 3,850-kg, Rs 978-crore spacecraft is a three-module composite made up of an orbiter, lander, and rover. On its planned 48-day journey between liftoff and landing on the Moon's South Pole, the composite will be subjected to a series of orbital manoeuvres to bring it to the moon's vicinity.

(Also read: Chandrayaan 2: A step-by-step look at the 47-day journey after its spectacularly successful launch)

"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 ISRO's schedule, the Vikram lander will attempt a soft-landing on the moon on  7 September, and open its hatch for the Pragyan rover to take its first few rolls onto lunar soil four hours later. The landing site of the mission is closer to the South Pole than any mission before it.

ISRO said that the earth-bound manoeuvres are planned from 24 July onwards, culminating in the fifth and final orbit-raising on 14 August 2019, setting Chandrayaan 2 on its way to the moon. ISRO has called the mission its most complex and prestigious mission ever. If successful, Chandrayaan 2 will propel India to an elite list of four nations (including Russia, the US and China) that have pulled off a soft-landing on the moon.