Chandrayaan-3: Lander Vikram To Enter Final Phase Of Journey To Moon's Surface Today With Deboosting Manoeuvre

Swarajya Staff

Aug 18, 2023, 02:47 PM | Updated 02:47 PM IST

The Chandrayaan-3 propulsion module. (ISRO)
The Chandrayaan-3 propulsion module. (ISRO)

In a pivotal stride towards its lunar touchdown, Chandrayaan-3's Vikram lander is poised to execute its deboosting manoeuvre at around 4 pm today, 18 August, as stated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

During this critical process, the Vikram lander will undertake two successive orbital reduction manoeuvres, laying the groundwork for its ultimate descent onto the lunar surface scheduled for 23 August, around 5:47 pm.

The most recent development in the Chandrayaan-3 mission unfolded on 17 August, when the lander module – consisting of the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover – adroitly separated from the propulsion module at 1:15 pm, propelling the mission into its ultimate phase.

Anticipated "Deboosting" for Vikram

Over the next five days, the Vikram lander will undergo two consecutive orbital reduction manoeuvres to fine-tune its trajectory.

The initial orbital manoeuvre is set to position Vikram in a circular orbit located at an altitude of 100x100 km above the lunar surface.

Subsequently, a following manoeuvre will strategically place the lander in its final orbit, at a height of 100x30 km above the moon. From this advantageous perspective, Vikram will initiate its final descent to the lunar surface and deploy the rover.

An ISRO official stressed that Vikram will adopt a more gradual movement pattern, facilitating its attainment of the intended orbit. This orbital path will position Vikram with its closest point to the moon (Perilune) at 30 km and the farthest point (Apolune) at 100 km.

Role of the Propulsion Module

While Vikram engages in its intricate orbital manoeuvres, the propulsion module will maintain its existing orbit, as verified by ISRO.

Significantly, the propulsion module accommodates the scientific payload named Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE).

This advanced instrument will conduct a spectroscopic exploration of Earth's atmosphere, with a focus on gauging polarization fluctuations within cloud formations.

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