Chandrayaan-2: Closing in on Moon, spacecraft set to release lunar lander Vikram on Monday

Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) second Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 is all set to release its lunar lander Vikram on Monday after performing five orbit maneuvers around the Moon.

The final and fifth lunar-bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 was performed successfully on Sunday, Isro said in an update.

The orbit maneuver began at 18:21 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system.

The duration of the maneuver was 52 seconds. The orbit achieved was 119 km x 127 km.

“All spacecraft parameters are normal,” Isro said on its website*.

The next step for Chandrayaan-2 is very crucial as it involves the separation of its Vikram Lander from the spacecraft’s Orbiter. The separation will take place between 12:45 - 13:45 hrs (IST).

Following the separation, there will be two deorbit maneuvers of Vikram Lander to prepare for its landing in the south polar region of the Moon.

According to the Isro, the tentative plan for the upcoming operations of Chandrayaan-2 is:

  • Vikram Separation : September 2 at 12:45 - 13:45 IST
  • Deorbit 1 : September 3 at 09:00 - 10:00 IST. The orbit achieved will be 109 km x 120 km
  • Deorbit 2 : September 4 at 03:00 - 04:00 IST. The orbit achieved will be 36 km x 110 km
  • Powered Descent : September 7
  • Vikram Touch Down - September 7 at 01:30 - 02:30 IST

The Vikram Lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments.

The lander has been named after father of Indian space research programme Vikram A Sarabhai.

The lander will be carrying the rover ‘Pragyan’ and will land in a high plain between two craters at a latitude of about 70 degrees South of the Moon.

Vikram is designed to function for one lunar day. It has the capability to communicate with IDSN at Byalalu near Bengaluru, as well as with the Orbiter and Rover. The Lander is designed to execute a soft landing on the lunar surface.

Unlike Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft land its Vikram module on the lunar surface and deploy a six-wheeled Rover, Pragyaan on the Moon to carry out several scientific experiments.


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