Indian spacecraft launched last month is now orbiting moon

Chandrayaan-2 Successfully Inserted Into Lunar Orbit: ISRO

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 successfully enters the Moon’s orbit

On September 2, as the probe travels around the Moon in its science orbit, the spacecraft will release the Vikram lander, which will go on to establish an orbit with a perilune of 30 km (19 miles) and an apolune of 100 km (62 miles). "To ensure it gets into the orbit around moon, the manoeuvre reduced the velocity from 2.4km per second to 2.1 km per second", Sivan said. In the latest development, the orbit achieved by the spacecraft was 114 km at its nearest point and 18,072 km at its farthest.

The manoeuvre to put the module into the lunar orbit was completed at 09:02 local time (04:32 GMT) on Tuesday.

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan greets journalists as he arrives for a press conference at their headquarters in Bangalore, India on August 20, 2019.

If the mission becomes successful India will be the fourth nation - the other three are Russian Federation, the United States and China - to land a spacecraft on the Moon. When this orbit period is nearly completed, the Chandrayaan-2 lander (Vikram) will separate from the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft and it plans to slowly land near the moon's south pole.

ISRO said that the health of the spacecraft was being closely monitored and that the systems were doing well.

The next Lunar bound orbit manoeuvre is scheduled tomorrow (August 21, 2019) between 1230 and 13:30 hrs IST.

"Looking at what happened to the soft landing around the world, we are saying that the soft landing success rate is only about 27 per cent". The ISRO chief said that the camera on the rover will be active right from the time the rover starts rolling out of the lander and the pictures from the rover can be received in the consequent five minutes as well.

Emphasizing the significance of landing on the Moon, Dr Sivan said the landing will be a terrific moment for him and his colleagues in ISRO, given the challenges involved in the mission.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission launched from Sriharikota in southern India on July 22. The lander and vehicle composite will detach from the orbiter and will orbit around the moon at 35 km.

"The landing site [on September 7] will be autonomously selected by the Lander-Rover by comparing the images taken by it with on-board images".

India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, orbited the Moon in 2008 but did not land there. The lift-off was successful in its second attempt, a week after it was aborted just under an hour from its launch due to a technical glitch.

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