New Delhi: India’s ambitious lunar mission moved another step closer to the Moon, after performing its fourth earth-bound maneuver, here on Friday.
At 3:57 pm on Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced, that it has successfully performed the fourth earth bound orbit raising maneuver for the mission module as planned. The module was fired using the on-board propulsion system for a firing duration of 646 seconds and achieved an orbit of 277 x 89472 km.
Chandrayaan-2 launched on 22 July at 2:43 pm from the launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota is country's most ambitious space missions till date. It comes nearly 11 years after India’s first visit to the moon in 2008 and aims to make a historic soft landing, near the south pole of the moon.
If India succeeds, it will become only the fourth nation after Russia, US and China to achieve the feat. However, the mission will also make India the first country to explore the southern pole of the moon- a part of the lunar surface which has not been explored by any other country ever before.
“All spacecraft parameters are normal," said ISRO.
The mission module carrying the Orbiter, Lander Vikram and Rover Pragyan is currently in the earth’s sphere of influence. The agency would perform the next orbit raising maneuver on the afternoon 6 August, which would also be the last earth-bound maneuver.
After this, it would prepare for the trans-lunar injection on 14 August, which would help set the spacecraft on a trajectory that would cause it to arrive at the Moon. The next step would be to engage in lunar bound maneuvers to put it into the desired orbit around then moon.
If everything goes as planned, the spacecraft would reach moon by 20 August. Once its successfully placed in the orbit, the Lander Vikram would separate from the Orbiter and prepared for its historic ‘soft landing’.
The soft landing on the moon would be attempted on 7 September. Both Lander Vikram and Rover Pragyan would remain on the lunar surface for 14 earth days, while orbiter would revolve around the moon for a period on one year.