Chandrayaan-3 in 153km x 163km orbit, Vikram set to separate tomorrow

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India Today News

India’s Chandrayaan-3 has successfully completed its final moon-bound maneuver, bringing it closer to the lunar surface.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced on Wednesday that the spacecraft had undergone a fifth and final orbit reduction maneuver, marking a significant milestone in the mission.

Launched on July 14, 2023, from Sriharikota’s Satish Dhawan Space Center, Chandrayaan-3 is now just 163 kilometers away from the Moon’s surface. The spacecraft has been gradually reducing its orbit and positioning itself for a touchdown over the lunar polar region through a series of maneuvers since entering the orbit on August 5.

The final orbit reduction maneuver, which commenced at 8:30 am on August 16, was performed from ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru.

“Today’s successful firing, needed for a short duration, has put Chandrayaan-3 into an orbit of 153 km x 163 km, as intended. With this, the lunar bound maneuvers are completed,” ISRO stated.

NEXT UP: SEPARATION

Following the completion of the lunar-bound maneuvers, the next crucial operation involves the separation of the lander module from the propulsion module.

This process, scheduled for August 17, will see the two modules embark on their separate journeys. The propulsion module will separate from the lander while in orbit, preparing for the subsequent landing phase. So far, it was the propulsion module that had been powering the spacecraft through its journey from Earth since July 14.

Following the separation the Propulsion Module will continue looping around the Moon and observe Earth with its single instrument to gather data around the planet’s spectrum, while the lander begins its most crucial journey.

The landing phase involves a series of complex braking maneuvers designed to facilitate a soft landing in the South Polar region of the Moon on August 23.

The lander, named Vikram, is expected to touch down on the moon’s surface at 5.47 p.m. If successful, the rover, named Pragyan, will roll off Vikram and explore the nearby lunar area, gathering images to be sent back to Earth for analysis.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission represents India’s second attempt to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, following the partial success of Chandrayaan-2 in 2019.

If successful, India will become the fourth nation globally to achieve this remarkable milestone, joining the United States, Russia, and China.

As the world watches with bated breath, the Chandrayaan-3 mission continues to make strides in lunar exploration, inching closer to its scheduled moon landing on August 23.

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