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Chandrayaan 2 enters second of the 5 planned orbits, gets closer to the moon

At Indian Space Research Organisation, scientists performed the second of the five planned orbit-raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-2 in the Earth’s orbit early Friday morning. The on-board propulsion system was fired to increase the apogee or the point on the elliptical orbit farthest from the Earth at 01:08 am.Β 

The scientists of ISRO were able to forgo the first orbit raising man oeuvre planned for the day after lift-off as the GSLV Mark III “over-performed” placing the spacecraft at an orbit about 6,000 km higher than intended.

Isro chairperson K Sivan had said after the launchthat This would save fuel for the spacecraft, which can be used to “play around with the manoeuvre” 

The orbit of Chandrayaan 2 was increased to a 251 x 54,829 km from the 230 x 45,163 km it was in after the first manoeuvre. Three more “burns” or firing of the propulsion system will be carried out to reach the final orbit of 221 x 1,43,585 km on August 6. The spacecraft is scheduled to reach a lunar orbit of August 20.

The Indian space agency said the major activities include earth bound maneuvers, Trans Lunar Insertion, Lunar bound maneuvers, the lander Vikram separation from Chandrayaan-2 and Vikram touch down on the moon’s South Pole.

The ISRO said the Trans Lunar Insertion of Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled on August 14, 2019, which will send the spacecraft to moon.

After that, the Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to reach moon by August 20, 2019, the ISRO said.The Lander and the Rover are expected to touch down near the Lunar South Pole in early September, becoming the first ever spacecraft to land in that region. The Lunar South Pole remains unexplored till date.

“Although we have given the intended orbits for the next four manoeuvres, with each burn the numbers are likely to change. This is a very dynamic process. There is a team that recalculates the orbit every hour, there is round-the-clock simulation to plan for the next move. This is not like a launch vehicle in which we cannot make changes once launched. The spacecraft is in our control and we need to guide it to the intended orbit to escape Earth’s orbit,” said an official from Isro who asked not to be named.

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