Chandrayaan-2 enters new lunar orbit, another step closer to Moon

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Chandrayaan-2, which carries a dream of placing a rover on the lunar surface, has lowered its orbit around the Moon with just days to go for the D-Day when the lander Vikram will separate from the spacecraft.

The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully carried out a manoeuvre Wednesday morning, placing Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical orbit of about 200 km x 1,500 km around the Moon.

The third lunar bound orbit manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 was completed successfully at around 9:30 am, putting the spacecraft in an orbit achieved of 179 km x 1412 km. The next lunar bound orbit manoeuvre is scheduled on August 30.

At the closest point of the new orbit, Chandrayaan-2 is 179 kms away from the lunar surface; at the farthest the spacecraft is 1412 kms away from the Moon. The orbit manoeuvre performed Wednesday morning was the third such operation carried out around the Moon.

Chandrayaan-2 will perform two more similar manoeuvres later this week to bring itself even closer to the Moon. By the evening of Saturday, September 1, Chandrayaan-2 will be in a near circular orbit of 114 km x 128 km around the Moon.

A day later on September 2, the lander Vikram will separate from the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft and get into an orbit of its own around the Moon. And then on September 7, Vikram will being a 15-minute powered descent to land near the lunar south pole, where it will set free the six-wheeled Pragyaan rover.

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