Lander Vikram separates from the Chandrayaan-2 and performs the first de-orbiting maneuver.
The first de-orbiting maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (September 03, 2019) beginning at 0850 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of the maneuver was 4 seconds.
After a journey of around one and a half month, Chandrayaan-2 is just five days away from touching the untouched – landing a rover on near the south pole of the Moon, a feat unaccomplished by any other country.
The separation took place at 1:15 pm Monday afternoon, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. The lander is now in an orbit of 119 kms x 127 kms around the Moon. On this orbit, the closest Vikram will come to the lunar surface will be 119 kilometres while the farthest will is 127 kilometres.
The orbiter is also flying in the same orbit and will continue to do so for the next one year.
After a four second maneuver performed at 08:50 am (IST) this morning, Vikram, which carries the Pragyaan rover inside, changed its orbit and reached closer to the moon. Through a similar operation on Wednesday, Vikram would lower itself further into an orbit that would be about 36 km from the lunar surface at its nearest point. It is from this orbit that it will begin its final descent on to the moon on the early hours of Saturday.
The maneuver that took just 4 seconds was done using the onboard propulsion system, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. The next de-orbiting manoeuvre is now scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 4 between 03:30-04:30 hours (IST).
Why only the South Pole?
ISRO has released an info graphic stating the importance of landing on the south pole of the moon. The following are the insights Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to obtain :-
The permanently shadowed craters on the moon are estimated to hold nearly 100 million tons of water.
Its regolith (layer of loose, heterogeneous superficial deposits) has traces of ammonia, hydrogen methane, silver, mercury, and sodium, thus making it an untapped source of essential resources.
It is a preferred and suitable pit for future space exploration missions due to its positional and elemental advantages.
The south pole can offer an undisturbed record of the solar system’s origin as it has been untouched by sunlight for billions of years.
The next de-orbiting maneuver is scheduled on September 04, 2019 between 0330 – 0430 hrs IST.