India's Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Enters Lunar Orbit

  • India's Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Enters Lunar Orbit

India's Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Enters Lunar Orbit

The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft successfully entered lunar orbit just hours ago, completing a delicate maneuver that allowed it to transition from an Earth-centric orbit to a new path that orbits Earth's tiny neighbor instead.

The Indian space agency said the major activities include Earth-bound manoeuvres, the trans-lunar insertion, lunar-bound manoeuvres, Vikram's separation from Chandrayaan-2 and touch down on the Moon's South Pole. Similar to the previous mission, ISRO's goal with Chandryaan-2 to study the lunar surface. The mission comes 11 years after the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO's) first successful lunar mission, the Chandrayaan 1, which orbited the moon more than 3,400 times and was operational for 312 days until August 29, 2009.

Subsequently, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and enter into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the Moon.

Dr Sivan has said that the 140 million dollar (£115 million) Chandrayaan-2 mission was the nation's most prestigious to date, in part because of the technical complexities of landing on the lunar surface - an event he described as "15 terrifying minutes". On July 22, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikot, India, at 5:13 a.m. EDT.

"That was a finger lickin' lift off!"

Chandrayaan-2 began its orbit of the Moon at 09:02 local time (04:32 GMT) on Tuesday.

India is seeking to become just the fourth nation after Russian Federation, the United States and China to land a spacecraft on the Moon. But if it approached at a slow velocity, the Moon's gravity would pull the Chandrayaan-2 and it might crash into the surface.

"Looking at what happened to the soft landing around the world, we are saying that the soft landing success rate is only about 27 per cent".

Taking the country further in the space exploration, ISRO will send 19 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), five Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-II (GSLV Mk II), seven GSLV Mk III and five small rockets.

India's first lunar mission in 2008 - Chandrayaan-1 - did not land on the Moon, but carried out a search for water using radar.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the mission as "an important step in the landmark journey".