Chadrayaan-2 Enters Lunar Orbit; Landing Expected on September 7

Katie Ramirez
August 21, 2019

ISRO chief K. Sivan explained the intricate manoeuvre was a key milestone for the Moon mission, adding he was hoping for a ideal landing next month.

After four weeks in space, the craft completed its Lunar Orbit Insertion as planned, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement. The ISRO chief was addressing a press conference in Bengaluru after the Chandrayaan 2 was successfully inserted into the moon's orbit at 9.02 am on Tuesday and the total duration of the manoeuver was about 30 minutes (1,738 seconds). If successful, India will join the elite league of the US, Russia, and China which have accomplished such landings but on other parts of the Moon.

Congratulatory messages poured in for the ISRO team as Chandrayaan-2, India's second lunar exploration mission, entered the Moon's orbit on Tuesday. Precision was especially crucial in the manoeuvre as it was meant to slow down the spacecraft to just the right level so that it would neither bounce off the lunar orbit nor crash on the lunar surface.

Sivan said NASA's Artemis mission will use the data from Chandrayaan-2 to send astronauts to the moon by 2024, preparing the way for human missions to Mars.

"On September 7, the lander will land on the moon. Whatever is humanly possible, has been done by us".

If it approached at too high a speed, the Moon's gravitational pull wouldn't have been enough to stabilize the ship and it would have careened off into space.

And had it approached at a slow velocity, the Moon's gravity would have attracted the rocket, causing a crash.

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This mission will also mark the Indian space agency's first soft landing.

"For 30 minutes today, our heart was nearly stopping", Sivan said.

India's most ambitious space mission to date, Chandrayaan 2 had lifted off from the spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on July 22.

The 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2, which covered a distance of 384,000 kilometres from Earth to the Moon, comprises an orbiter, lander and rover.

Over the next 12 months, the orbiter will study the moon's outer atmosphere and map the lunar surface. When Will ISRO's GSLV-Mk III Reach Moon And What Will Happen After That? This was one of the trickiest operations in the mission. The mission is on track even though a technical glitch delayed the launch for a week.

Chandrayaan-2 is a sequel to Chandrayaan-1, India's maiden unmanned moon mission which was announced by late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the 56th Independence Day in 2003. In 2014, India became only the fourth nation to put a satellite into orbit around the Red Planet.

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