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New Delhi: Chandrayaan-2 is all set to perform its most critical step in the space journey, as it readies for a lunar capture to enter the moon’s orbit.

It is after nearly a decade that India would reach the moon, since it's historic first mission launched in October 2008.

Scientists at Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) began the critical exercise at 8:30 am on Tuesday when the moon began to approach the Apogee of Chandryaan-2, which is its farthest point from the earth. Once it comes closer to the moon, the on-board thrusters would fire precisely and reduce its velocity for lunar capture and entry into the lunar orbit.

The moon is revolving around the earth and its location is changing constantly. It takes nearly 27 earth days to complete one orbit around earth, while at the same time rotating on its axis.

After the spacecraft enters the moon’s orbit, Isro would perform four more maneuvers to place it into the desired orbit, which is 100 kms from the lunar surface. This is where the Orbiter would carry its year-long journey.

The spacecraft carries an orbiter, Lander Vikram and Rover Pragyan. While the orbiter would remain in the moon’s orbit after the insertion and revolve around the moon for an year conducting experiments, Lander Vikram and Pragyan Rover would separate from it on September 7.

The mission marks a major milestone in India’s space journey, as it aims to make its historic ‘soft landing’ on the moon. Only three countries have so far carried out the feat- US, Russia and China. But India’s plans to explore a part of the moon, where no other country has ever been before- near the south pole of the moon.

It is after a period of 11 years, that India has again set out for the moon. Chandrayaan-2 carries as many as 13 payloads and would build on the experiments conducted by its first mission. The key aim is to study the distribution of water and minerals on the lunar surface, which is critical for future space missions.

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