Chandrayaan-2 to reach moon's orbit after six days

An orbit-raising diagram for Chandrayaan 2. Image ISRO

The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will approach the Moon on August 20 after it successfully entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on Wednesday.

"The final orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was successfully carried out today at 2:21 am".

Earlier, the spacecraft's orbit was progressively increased five times during July 23 to August 6, 2019, ISRO said.

The premier space agency has been continuously monitoring the health of the module from the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru alongside Indian Deep Space Network antennas.

On 22 July, India launched the country's second moon mission, Chandrayaan 2, aboard the most powerful rocket in ISRO's arsenal, the GSLV-MkIII-M1, from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

As Chandrayaan-2 nears the Moon on August 20, engineers will again remotely activate the thruster to place the spacecraft into a lunar orbit, its farthest point about 18,000km from the Moon, its nearest point 118km.

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Launched into space last month, the mission consists of an orbiter, lander, and a small rover.

Chandrayaan-2 will allow the country to add "soft landing" to its list of lunar achievements. The orbiter was packed with 1,697kg of propellant at the time of the launch, and by the end of all the Earth-bound manoeuvres, it should've expended more than 657kg of this.

Upon arriving on the moon, Chandrayaan 2 will enact a lunar orbit insertion. After this operation, Chandrayaan-2 will move towards the Moon.

The space agency said all systems of the spacecraft are functioning normally. ISRO will undertake four-orbit manoeuvres to progressively give the orbit a circular form with the final one intended on September 1 expected to put it on an orbit with 114km perigee and 128km apogee.

The Vikram lander, with three payloads, including one to measure lunar seismic activity, is only expected to survive a single lunar day due to its reliance on solar power to keep alive.

Subsequently, the lander will separate from the orbiter and enter into a 100kmx30km orbit around the moon, and then, it will perform a series of "complex braking" manoeuvres to soft land in the south polar region of the moon on September 7. The rover (Pragyan) is housed inside the lander (Vikram).

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