The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) notched up yet another milestone on Monday afternoon, as the moon lander, Vikram, carrying the Pragyan rover, successfully detached from the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter at 1:15 pm. The state space organisation said the lander is currently located in an orbit of 119km X 127km and that the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will continue in its existing orbit around the Moon.
The orbiter and Vikram lander's health is being monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru. This is done with the support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Bylalu, near Bengaluru. All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter and Lander are reportedly healthy.
Following this development, two more manoeuvres will take place now on September 3 and 4, controlled by the ISRO, which will try to bring the Vikram lander closer to the Moon for the soft landing on South Pole later this week.
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The current mission was completed after the Chandrayaan 2 successfully performed the fifth and final lunar orbit manoeuvre and entered in the final circular orbit of the Moon yesterday evening, at 6:21 pm.
After the recent detachment, the Vikram lander will soft land on the Moon's southern Pole on September 7 at 1:55 am, following which Pragyan, a six-wheeled rover, would come out of the Vikram lander. It will carry out experiments on the lunar surface and analyse the lunar soil for one lunar day, which is equal to 14 Earth days. The orbiter will continue its mission for one year.
Once the lander successfully reaches the surface of the Moon, India will be the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to perform a successful soft landing.
In total, Chandrayaan 2 has 13 payloads on board with eight of them in the orbiter, three payloads in Vikram, and two in Pragyan. Five payloads are from India, three from Europe, two from the US, and one from Bulgaria.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)
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