India’s second moon mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’ left the earth’s orbit early on Wednesday, 23 days after being launched, and is moving towards the moon following the successful completion of a crucial manoeuvre by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said it has carried out a manoeuvre called ‘Trans Lunar Insertion’ (TLI) at 2:21 am on Wednesday, following which the spacecraft has successfully entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory. The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft is expected to reach the moon’s orbit on August 20 and land on lunar surface on September 7.
“Today (August 14, 2019) after the Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) maneuver operation, #Chandrayaan2 will depart from Earth’s orbit and move towards the Moon (sic),” the ISRO tweeted. “During the final orbit raising of the spacecraft around the earth, the liquid engine was fired for about 1203 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory,” the space agency said.
Earlier, the spacecraft’s orbit was progressively increased five times between July 23 and August 6. The health of the spacecraft is being “continuously monitored” from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru, it said.
“Since its launch on July 22 all systems onboard Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft are performing normally,” the ISRO said. The spacecraft will approach the moon on August 20 and then the spacecraft’s liquid engine will be fired again to insert it into lunar orbit, the ISRO said. “Following this, there will be four orbit maneuvers to make the spacecraft enter its final orbit, passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the moon’s surface,” it said.