Milestone By Chandrayaan-2 As It Enters Lunar Orbit

Chandrayaan-2 successfully entered the moon’s orbit during the early hours of Tuesday, 28th August creating another landmark in India’s Moon Mission.

In a statement issued by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), they stated that as planned the maneuver by Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) was completed successfully using the propulsion system onboard around 0902 hrs. (IST). The maneuver took about 1738 secs that helped Chandrayaan-2 to successfully enter the lunar orbit.

Chandrayaan-2’s Journey To The Lunar Surface:

Tuesday’s event will be followed by several such maneuvers by Chandrayaan-2 which will allow it to pass the last orbit, passing by the lunar poles keeping a distance of about 100 kilometers from the surface of the moon. After that, the Orbiter will detach from the lander. The Orbiter will then pass into a 100-kilometer x 30-kilometer orbit around the Moon.

The next stage involves another series of very complicated braking maneuvers by Chandrayaan-2 to soft-land at the Moon’s South Polar Region. The tentative date for that has been calculated and stated by ISRO to be 7th September.
As per reports from the Indian Space Research Organization the next phase of moon-bound orbit maneuver will happen on Wednesday, 21st August around 1.30 PM (IST).

Chandrayaan-2-orbit-raising-diagram-_-ISRO
Source: https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Chandrayaan-2-orbit-raising-diagram-_-ISRO.jpg

Chandrayaan has already completed its trek to the Moon and is just days away from touching the lunar surface and land the probes. Once that is done, it will put India in the elite club of nations like the US, Russia (then USSR) and China who have achieved the same feat in the past.

The 978 crore (INR) worth Moon Mission has contributions from about 120 industries and 500 universities across the nation. These organizations have played a vital role in both GSLV Mklll and Chandrayaan-2. The first part of the Moon Mission was completed in the year 2008 by Chandrayaan-1 when ISRO placed a satellite in the lunar orbit. The more crucial second phase of the mission lays on Chandrayaan-2 where it has to successfully land its lander Vikram on the Moon’s surface.

Followed by Tuesday’s successful Lunar Orbit Insertion, only four maneuvers remain to be performed by the spacecraft from 21st August till 1st September. This will take Chandrayaan-2 to the lower orbits and finally, it will stay in the 100 kilometerx100 kilometer orbit.

The last orbit maneuver is supposed to take place on 1st September. During that time the spacecraft will be in an orbit of 114 kilometerx128 kilometers.

Video source: editorji

Final Descent Of Chandrayaan-2:

The final descent of Vikram the lander is completely new territory for ISRO, and those 15 minutes are the most vital ones in the entire mission. It involves a series of complicated steps that are mentioned below:

  • The lander Vikram will detach from the orbiter four days before the moon landing. It will enter a 30 kilometerx100 kilometer orbit at a speed of 6120 kmph.
  • A few seconds later the lander will go up an altitude of 7.4 kilometers at a speed of 526 kmph
  • The lander, will reduce the speed to 331.2 kmph in next 38 secs staying at a distance of 5 kilometers from the moon’s surface
  • Vikram, the lander will reach nearer the surface maintaining a distance of 400 meters in the next 89 secs
  • It will hover at that distance for the next 12 secs collecting all relevant data about the surface
  • Followed by this the lander will descent going down to 100 meters, all the while deciding to make the landing or go to an alternative spot. The total calculated time for this process is 66 seconds.
  • In the next step, Vikram will initiate a touchdown to the surface using all five of its engine
  • After all four legs of Vikram’s have touched the lunar surface the power will touchdown
  • Fifteen minutes after the landing the lander will send the first pictures of the land site
  • Four hours after the moon landing the rover Pragyan will come out of the lander Vikram to explore the moon’s surface for further studies

Further information from ISRO states that the spacecraft Chandrayaan-2 is carrying 13 Indian payloads and one payload from NASA which is passive making a total count of 14. The one from NASA will focus specifically on mapping the craters of the lunar polar region. It will also search for water on the moon. The payloads of the rover will focus on the mineralogical composition of the moon’s surface. It will study the rocks and the soil. The lander instruments will study the seismic and thermal activity of the moon.

All in all, Chandrayaan-2 truly takes the space legacy of India that started with MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission and Chandrayaan-1 forward by leaps and bounds.

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