Chandrayaan-2 leaves Earth’s orbit, moving towards moon

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India’s ambitious lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 left the earth’s orbit today and is headed towards the moon after a crucial manoeuvre by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

“The final orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was successfully carried out today at 02:21 am IST. During this manoeuvre, the spacecraft’s liquid engine was fired for about 1203 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory,” ISRO said in a statement. An orbit raising manoeuvre is the process of raising a satellite into an orbit towards to Moon, while it still revolves around the Earth.


Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) maneuver was performed today (August 14, 2019) at 0221 hrs IST as planned.

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Here’s the view of Control Centre at ISTRAC, Bengaluru

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It will travel for the next seven days and get close to moon on August 20, when its orbit will be altered frequently to make it revolve around moon. The spacecraft carries lander Vikram and rover Pragyan on it. The mission is the country’s first lunar soft-landing attempt. The landing itself is slated for September 7. The Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said it has carried out a manoeuvre called ‘Trans Lunar Insertion’ (TLI) following which the spacecraft has successfully entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory. Earlier, the spacecraft’s orbit was progressively increased five times between July 23 and August 6.

“Since its launch on July 22 all systems onboard Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft are performing normally,” the ISRO said.

The spacecraft will approach the moon on August 20 and then the spacecraft’s liquid engine will be fired again to insert it into lunar orbit, the ISRO said.

“Following this, there will be four orbit maneuvers to make the spacecraft enter its final orbit, passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the moon’s surface,” it said.

In a giant leap for the country’s ambitious low-cost space programme, ISRO’s most powerful three-stage rocket GSLV-MkIII-M1 had launched the spacecraft into the orbit of the Earth on July 22 from the spaceport of Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon while the lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments. The rover carries two payloads to enhance the understanding of the lunar surface. A passive experiment from NASA will also be carried onboard Chandrayaan-2, ISRO has said. According to the ISRO, the mission objective of Chandrayaan-2 is to develop and demonstrate the key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on the lunar surface.

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.

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