India second lunar mission achieved a significant milestone as Chandrayaan 2 successfully entered the lunar orbit. The entire process of its insertion into the lunar orbit was completed at 9:02 am.
According to ISRO, the spacecraft has to perform a series of orbit manoeuvers to enter the final orbit of the Moon by passing through the lunar poles, which are at a distance of 100 km from the surface.
In a statement, ISRO said,
"Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuver was completed successfully today (August 20, 2019) at 0902 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of manoeuver was 1,738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a Lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114 km x 18072 km."
Following its orbit manoeuvering, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and enter into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the Moon. As soon as it comes close to the Moon's surface, it will perform a series of complex braking manoeuvers to soft land in the south polar region on September 7, 2019.
To make sure nothing goes wrong during the course of its mission, the health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru. All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 are healthy.
The journey so far and the importance of the mission
The much-anticipated Chandrayaan 2 mission, worth Rs 978 crore, didn't take off on its scheduled date of July 15 due to a technical snag. The launch was called off just a few minutes before the 2.51 am lift-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
After much anticipation and precaution, the lunar mission finally took off on GSLV Mk-III on 22 July, 2019.
Chandrayaan 2 will have three modules - a lander named Vikram, an orbiter, and a six-wheeled rover named Pragyan - all developed by ISRO. These modules will study and conduct scientific experiments on the Moon’s south polar region.
The instruments on the rover will be observing the lunar surface and send data back and pictures that will be used by the ISRO to analyse the lunar soil.
This mission will also mark the Indian space agency's first soft landing. A soft landing is considered as a safe landing of a rover or space equipment on the extra-terrestrial land to prevent any form of damage to the equipment.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)