Chennai, August 20
The Indian space agency on Tuesday completed successfully the crucial orbit manoeuvre and put the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into the lunar orbit.
According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) was completed successfully at 9.02 a.m. as planned using the onboard propulsion system. All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 are healthy.
"The duration of manoeuvre was 1,738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114km X 18,072km," the ISRO said.
Following this, a series of orbit manoeuvres will be performed on Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft to enable it to enter its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon's surface.
Subsequently, the lander -- Vikram -- will separate from the Orbiter and enter into a 100km X 30km orbit around the Moon.
"Then, it will perform a series of complex braking manoeuvres to soft land in the South Polar region of the Moon on September 7, 2019," ISRO said.
The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, near the Karnataka capital.
The next Lunar bound orbit manoeuvre is scheduled on Wednesday between 12.30-1.30 p.m.
On July 22, the Chandrayaan-2 was injected into an elliptical orbit of 170X45,475 km by India's heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) in a text book style.
The spacecraft comprises three segments - the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), the lander 'Vikram' (1,471 kg, four payloads) and rover 'Pragyan' (27 kg, two payloads).
The Indian space agency said the major activities include Earth-bound manoeuvres, the trans-lunar insertion, lunar-bound manoeuvres, Vikram's separation from Chandrayaan-2 and touch down on the Moon's South Pole.
The insertion of the spacecraft to the moon into the lunar orbit was a tense 30 minute operation, said ISRO Chairman K. Sivan.
"It was tense 30 minute operation. The tension and anxiety kept on building as the clock ticked. It was a great relief and joy when the Chandrayaan-2 was put into the lunar orbit successfully," Sivan told IANS soon after the crucial operation.
"We are visiting the moon once again," he added.
India's first moon mission -- Chandrayaan-1 -- was in 2008.
Around 200 officials were assembled at the ISRO centre.
Post the successful insertion, the officials rejoiced and greeted each other on an exceptional feat.
According to an ISRO official, the monitoring of Chandrayaan-2 was round-the-clock and officials were anxious to see that the spacecraft was on course to the moon.
Queried about the small rocket-Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)- Sivan said the realisation is in progress.
He also said the Gaganyaan -- India's human space mission -- is also in the process of realisation.
The selection of astronauts is on course.—IANS
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