Science

Chandrayaan-2 heads towards Moon, leaves earth’s orbit

Bengaluru: India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 left the Earth’s orbit today and is heading towards the moon after a crucial manoeuvre by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

After a 20-minute long burning of the liquid engine, ISRO at 2.20 am declared that the critical Trans-Lunar Insertion (TLI) operation a success.

“The final orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was successfully carried out today at 02:21 am IST. During this manoeuvre, the spacecraft’s liquid engine was fired for about 1203 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory,” ISRO said in a statement.

After its launch on July 22, the spacecraft’s orbit was progressively increased five times from July 23 to August 6. The spacecraft is expected to reach the moon’s orbit on August 20.

ISRO Chief Dr K Sivan with much delight told media,” The firing had to be precise and totally accurate as now from a distance of 276 kilometres from earth – where the midnight operation was conducted on Chandrayaan 2 – it will now head for a long lunar marathon of 3.84 lakh km to the moon.”

Vikram, the spacecraft’s lander, is expected to soft-land on the south on September 7 and unleash the rover to explore the surface.

The mission objective of Chandrayaan-2 is to develop and demonstrate the key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on the lunar surface. This mission shall expand our knowledge about the Moon through a detailed study of its topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics and atmosphere leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.

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