BENGALURU: The Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission has entered the most crucial phase of its mission life – the landing process. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday at 1.15 pm successfully separated the lander Vikram from the Orbiter to clear the way for two de-orbits on Tuesday and Wednesday before it begins a powered descent to the moon’s south pole to make a historic landing near the moon’s south pole on Saturday (September 7).
The lander Vikram is currently in an elliptical orbit of 119 km x 127 km around the moon.
The health of the Orbiter and Lander is being monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Peenya, with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, both near Bengaluru.
All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter and Lander are healthy.
The Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter continues to orbit the Moon in its existing orbit. The next manoeuvre is scheduled on Tuesday between 8.45 am and 9.45 am
The lander carries the 27 Kg robotic rover Pragyan which will emerge from the lander once the latter makes a successful landing.
As per tentative schedule, lander Vikram is expected to make the landing between 1.30 am and 2.30 am on Saturday (September 7), while rover Pragyan will be released from the lander between 5.30 am and 6.30 am the same day.
Imaging of the landing site region prior to landing will be done for finding safe and hazard-free zones.
Subsequently, Rover will roll out and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of 1 Lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days, while the Orbiter will continue its mission for a duration of one year.
Chandrayaan-2 is on a mission unlike any before, according to ISRO. Leveraging nearly a decade of scientific research and engineering development, India's second lunar expedition will shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon — its South Polar region.
This mission will help gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface.
While there, ISRO will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan 1, such as the presence of water molecules on the moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition.
Meanwhile, the Orbiter will continue remotely sensing the lunar environment from its orbit during its mission life, after which it is set to crash into the lunar surface.