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Just days away from entering Moon orbit, here’s what lies ahead of Chandrayaan-2

Chandrayaan-2 is now barely a couple of days away from reaching the orbit of the Moon on August 20. The spacecraft is scheduled to touch down on the lunar surface on September 7. (Photo: AP)

Chandrayaan-2, India’s second lunar exploration mission, is moving closer to the Moon. The spacecraft has already left the Earth’s orbit earlier this week on Wednesday and is now barely a couple of days away from reaching the orbit of the Moon on Tuesday, August 20 before eventually touching down on its surface on September 7.

Since its launch on July 22, Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft had been in the orbit of the Earth. There were a series of orbit-raising, the spacecraft progressed five times on the orbit from July 23 to August 6 before it left the Earth’s orbit this week when the final orbit-raising was done. In fact, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had earlier this month released the first set of images of Earth captured by Chandrayaan-2.

The Chandrayaan-2 is presently in the Lunar Transfer Trajectory and in this Tuesday, the liquid engine of the spacecraft will be powered so as to get it inside the orbit of the Moon. After this happens, the spacecraft will be needed to go through another four stages of the orbit manoeuvering to get into the last orbit. This process of manoeuvering in the lunar orbit will be taking place from August 21 to September 1.

Once the spacecraft reaches the final orbit of the Moon, it will be separating the Vikram lander from itself on September 2. The Vikram lander will then go through two more orbit manoeuvers before the initiation of powered descent to make the soft landing on the surface of the Moon on September 7.

The Vikram lander will be landing on the southern pole of the Moon which has so far been unexplored. According to the ISRO, the Moon’s surface in the south pole is in the shadows more than the surface in the north pole. After it successfully lands, the spacecraft will rollout the rover for exploring the surface of the Moon there.

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The mission’s success will make India, the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to make a soft landing on the Moon.