Pragyaan and Vikram are finally on their way to the Moon. After a journey of around a month and a half, Chandrayaan-2 is just six days away from achieving the unachieved — landing a rover on near the south pole of the Moon, a feat unaccomplished by any other country.
Praygyaan is Chandrayaan-2 six-wheeled rover that is currently housed in the Vikram lander. The lander and the rover succesfully broke from the Chandhrayaan-2 orbiter Monday afternoon and began their own journey to the Moon.
The separation took place at 1:15 pm Monday afternoon, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said. Vikram is now in an orbit of 119 kms x 127 kms around the Moon — while on this orbit, the closest Vikram will come to the lunar surface will be 119 kilometres while the farthest it will be is 127 kilometres.
The orbiter is also flying in the same orbit and will continue to do so for the next one year.
Over the next few days, the Vikram lander will perform two manoeuvres to bring itself closer and closer to the Moon. By early September 4 morning, Vikram will get into an orbit that will see it fly over the Moon at a height of 36 kilometres at the orbit’s closest point and 110 kilometres at the farthest.
On September 7, the Vikram lander will begin a 15-minute powered descent, which for the Indian Space Research Organisation will be “15 minutes of terror”, to the lunar south pole. With the September 7 landing, India will become only the fourth country in the world to land a rover on the Moon and the only nation to do so near the lunar south pole.