Chandrayaan-2 leaves earth’s orbit, heads for the moon

Pablo Tucker
August 14, 2019

The spacecraft successfully carried out the crucial process of trans-lunar injection, moving from earth's orbit towards the moon.

Chandrayaan-2 on Wednesday at 2.21 am left earth's orbit and successfully entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory (LTT) after its orbit was raised further, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) confirmed this.

Chandrayaan-2 is expected to approach the moon's orbit on 20 August.

Chandrayaan 2 fired the spacecraft's liquid engine for 1,203 seconds, making it head to the moon on the 23rd day of its launch after a 22-day detour into Earth's orbit.

Following this, Chandrayaan-2 will have to complete four more manoeuvres after reaching the Moon's orbit on August 20.

Earlier, the spacecraft's orbit was progressively increased five times from July 23 to August six.

Since its launch by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, all systems onboard Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft are performing normal.

The Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said it has carried out a manoeuvre called "Trans Lunar Insertion" (TLI) at 2:21 am on Wednesday. After this there will be many more experiments and on 7 September Chandrayaan will land on the South Pole of the Moon. The last of Chandrayaan 2's Earth-bound orbits has already brought the spacecraft fairly close to the Moon - a 4,13,623-km orbit around the Earth. It comprises a fully indigenous orbiter, a lander (Vikram) and a rover (Pragyan).

After leaving the earth's orbit and upon entering the moon's sphere of influence, the onboard propulsion system of Chandrayaan-2 will be fired to slow down the spacecraft, which will enable it to be captured into a preliminary orbit around the moon, the ISRO said.

If successful, the mission will make India the fourth country after Russian Federation, the USA and China to pull off a soft landing on the Moon.

Chandrayaan-2 launched on July 22. The mission life of the lander is also one lunar day, while the orbiter will continue its mission for a year. "Two orbit maneuvers will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 07, 2019", it added. No country has reached this part of the moon so far.

Other reports by iNewsToday