If you spent the Independence Day weekend enamoured with all things space and science, thanks to Mission Mangal, then this news is bound to make your week! Just days away from the Moon landing, India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 successfully entered the lunar orbit on Tuesday morning. This is a major milestone for our country as it furthers the legacy of India’s first lunar mission.
However, the most crucial part of this mission is yet to come, where Vikram, the lander of Chandrayaan-2, would be landing on the Moon after separating from its orbiter on September 2. Four more manoeuvres will be performed by ISRO on August 21, 28, 30, and September 1 to take the spacecraft to lower orbits and a soft landing on the lunar surface will be initiated on September 7.
If that sounds huge but terrifying, that’s because it is, and even the ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan agrees with you! He told the media during a press conference that his “heart almost stopped” when the team was trying to inject the spacecraft into the lunar orbit, and his “heartbeat increased” as he saw it being done successfully.
He said, “The final descent of the lander will be 15 terrifying minutes for us, as it is something we’ve never tried before. It is one of the most complex operations we’ve ever handled.” After the moon landing, India will join the US, the USSR (now Russia) and China in the esteemed list of countries that have successfully landed probes on the lunar surface.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) issued a statement saying, “Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuver was completed successfully today (August 20, 2019) at 0902 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of the manoeuver was 1738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114 km x 18072 km.”
According to ISRO's statement, “Following this, a series of orbit manoeuvers will be performed on Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft to enable it to enter its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon’s surface. Subsequently, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and enter into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the Moon. Then, it will perform a series of complex braking maneuvers to soft-land in the South polar region of the Moon."
Sivan explained that missions like these are extremely important for our country because space tech can help improve our quality of life."The mission is mainly to make use of space tech to help the common man lead a better life and to ensure safety, security and quality," he said. People are invariably linked to it because something as crucial as cyclone predictions are made through space tech.
If your curiosity has been piqued and you want to follow whether we do end up making history in the next few days, keep your eyes glued to the Twitter handle of ISRO for updates!
Featured image: Twitter
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