Chandrayaan-2 raises orbit
Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft moved into a higher orbit around the earth, by performing its second orbit-raising manoeuvre in the early hours of 26 July 2019. The spacecraft, which will attempt to land on moon on September 7, fired its onboard propulsion system for 883 seconds at 0108 hours 26 July 2019 morning, to move into an elliptical orbit that was 251 km from the earth at its nearest point and 54,829 km at its furthest, a statement from Indian Space Research Organisation said, adding that the spacecraft was performing normally.
- This was the second orbit-raising manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 which was launched from the Sriharikota range on 22 July 2019.
- Over the next 10 days, Chandrayaan-2 will raise its orbit three more times, eventually reaching an orbit that would be 233 km at the nearest point and 143,953 km at the furthest.
- With each orbit-raising manoeuvre, the spacecraft would gain energy that would eventually be adequate for it to leave the orbit around the earth and move towards the moon.
- The next orbit-raising manoeuvre is planned for July 29, followed by similar operations on August 2 and August 6.
- The spacecraft would continue to move in the final earth orbit for eight more days, before breaking out and moving towards the moon on August 14. It is scheduled to enter a lunar orbit on August 20.
- While the Orbiter component of Chandrayaan-2 is designed to go around in a lunar orbit 100 km from the moon’s surface for a year, the Vikram lander and Prgayaan rover would separate from the main spacecraft on September 3, move into a lower orbit, and finally descend on the lunar surface on September 7.
- India had on 22 July 2019 launched the country's second moon mission Chandrayaan 2 on-board its powerful rocket GSLV-MkIII 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, Rs 978-crore spacecraft is a three-module composite made up of an orbiter, lander, and rover.
- The composite will be subjected to a series of orbit manoeuvres over 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.
- 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.