Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan 2 will be entering the moon’s orbit at around 9.30 am on Tuesday (20 August), The Times of India reports. The spacecraft had left the earth’s orbit to move towards the moon on 14 August.
“Chandrayaan 2 is going to enter a crucial phase of lunar orbit insertion around 9.30 am on Tuesday. On entering Moon’s sphere of influence, the onboard propulsion system of the craft will be fired to slow down the spacecraft to help it captured by Moon’s gravity,” ISRO Chairman K Sivan said.
The spacecraft will conduct five manoeuvres around the 100kmx100km lunar orbit on 20, 21, 28, 30 August and 1 September to lower the altitude of Chandrayaan II to bring itself closer to the surface of the moon.
On 20 August, the Chandrayaan 2 will perform reorientation when it is around 150 km from the lunar orbit to reduce the spacecraft’s velocity and enter the orbit. If the velocity of the spacecraft is more, it will just fly past the moon.
The Vikram lander will also separate from the orbiter on 2 September. “Thereafter, two more manoeuvres will be performed on Vikram before the powered descent starts to make the lander make a soft-landing on Moon between 1.30am and 2.30am on 7 September,” Sivan adds.
Once landed, the Pragyan rover will be launched out of the lander after four hours. The four-wheeled rover will move at a speed of 1 cm per second to cover 500 meters on the lunar surface.
The Pragyan has a lifespan of one lunar day (14 earth days), during which it will capture images, analyse content and sent it back to earth in 15 minutes via the Vikram or the orbiter.