Indian Spacecraft Launched Last Month Is Now Orbiting Moon

Sriharikota India’s second Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 lifts off onboard GSLV Mk III-M1 launch vehicle from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh Monday

The world is waiting for Indian Space Research Organisation's data on Chandrayaan-2, the mission slated to land on the Moon's surface on September 7, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said on Tuesday.

According to ISRO, the orbit manoeuvre began at 12.50 p.m. and took 1,228 seconds to complete. At its lowest point relative to the Moon, also known as the perilune, it passes a mere 114 km (71 miles) from the surface of the Moon, while at its highest point, or apolune, it is 18,072 km (11,229 miles) distant. All spacecraft parameters of the spacecraft are normal, ISRO said in a statement.

A rover will study permanently shadowed moon craters that are thought to contain 100 million tonnes of water, deposits that were confirmed by India's Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008.

On July 22, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikot, India, at 5:13 a.m. EDT.

Chandryaan-2 comprises an Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyaan).

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Sivan said Isro had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to witness the landing sequence from organisation's command centre on September 7, but it had received no confirmation yet.

India is seeking to grow to be the fourth nation after the United States, Russia, China to land a spacecraft on the Moon. The probe will orbit the moon for two weeks before its Vikram lander - named after Vikram Sarabhai, the scientist regarded as the "father" of India's space program - will undock from the mothership and land on the moon's South Pole. He said that it was precisely injected to achieve a soft landing near the South Pole and has crossed a major milestone.

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 main spacecraft module would continue to go around the moon in its orbit for at least one full year. "On 19th August around 2 pm the moon also got near the mission and then it entered the orbit", Sivan said.

Isro on Wednesday said it has performed the second lunarbound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft that is now in the lunar orbit for its rendezvous with the Moon. Even the slightest mistake would fail the soft landing planned for September at the station's moon surface.

Vikram's solar panels will be deployed for activation three hours after its landing.

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