Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft moved closer to the Moon’s surface on Wednesday after it underwent another orbit reduction maneuver, ISRO said. India’s ambitious third Moon mission’s spacecraft Chandrayaan-3 after the launch on July 14, had entered into lunar orbit or the Moon’s orbit on August 5.
”Even closer to the moon’s surface. Chandrayaan-3’s orbit is reduced to 174 km x 1437 km following a maneuver performed today,” ISRO said in a tweet.
The next operation is scheduled for August 14, between 11.30 am and 12.30 pm, ISRO said.
A similar orbit reduction maneuver was carried out by the ISRO on Sunday.
As the mission progresses, a series of maneuvers is being conducted by ISRO to gradually reduce Chandrayaan-3’s orbit and position it over the lunar poles.
According to ISRO sources, there will be two more orbit reduction maneuvers to bring the spacecraft closer to the Moon.
These maneuvers will be performed on August 14 and 16 to reach 100 km orbit, following which the landing module, comprising the lander and rover will break away from the propulsion module.
After this, the lander is expected to undergo a ”deboost” (the process of slowing down) and make a soft landing on the south polar region of the Moon on August 23.
Over five moves in the three weeks since the July 14 launch, ISRO had lifted the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into orbits farther and farther away from the Earth.
Then, on August 1 in a key maneuver — a slingshot move — the spacecraft was sent successfully towards the Moon from Earth’s orbit. Following this trans-lunar injection, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft escaped from orbiting the Earth and began following a path that would take it to the vicinity of the moon.
Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface. It consists of lander and rover configuration.
It comprises an indigenous propulsion module, lander module, and a rover with an objective of developing and demonstrating new technologies required for inter-planetary missions.
The propulsion module will carry the lander and rover configuration till 100 km lunar orbit. The propulsion module has Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload to study the spectral and polarimetric measurements of earth from the lunar orbit.
The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are to demonstrate safe and soft landing on the lunar surface, to demonstrate rover roving on the Moon, and to conduct in-situ scientific experiments.
The lander will have the capability to soft land at a specified lunar site and deploy the rover that will carry out in-situ chemical analysis of the Moon’s surface during the course of its mobility.
The lander and the rover have scientific payloads to carry out experiments on the lunar surface.