Indian Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft enters Lunar Transfer Trajectory

An orbit-raising diagram for Chandrayaan 2. Image ISRO

An orbit-raising diagram for Chandrayaan 2. Image ISRO

"Today (August 14, 2019) after the Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) manoeuvre operation, #Chandrayaan2 will depart from Earth's orbit and move towards the Moon (sic)", it said.

Those who are waiting endlessly for the lander, Vikram's soft landing on the Moon, the National Geographic is planning to stream a live show on September 7.

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

Then, the spacecraft will have four-orbit manoeuvres around the moon and finally enter the final orbit, closest to the moon's surface - at a distance of about 100 km. Chandrayaan 2 will have to slow itself down just enough using its thrusters to fall into the moon's reach - gravitationally speaking. If the Chandrayaan-2 team, led by project director M Vanitha and mission director Ritu Karidhal, is able to land the lunarcraft successfully in the wee hours of September 7, India will become the fourth country in the world to land its spacecraft on Moon. The final orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-2 was successfully carried out at 2.21 am.

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At 2.21am on Wednesday, Chandrayaan-2 said goodbye to Earth and left the planet's orbit to enter a straight path towards Moon.

All the systems onboard the spacecraft are normal, confirmed the premier space agency which has been monitoring the health of the module continuously from the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with the support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru. During this manoeuvre, the spacecraft's liquid engine was sacked for about 1203 seconds. The mission, if successful, will make India the fourth country after Russian Federation, the USA and China to make a soft landing on the moon. Now lunar orbit insertion of Chandrayaan will be done. During its lifespan of one lunar day (14 Earth days), Pragyan will move up to 500 metre on the lunar surface. The mission was primarily aimed at landing a rover in the unexplored lunar south pole.

It also aims to further expand the knowledge about the moon through a detailed study of its topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics and atmosphere, leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the moon, the space agency had said.

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