Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will soon leave Earth’s orbit. What’s next?

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On Wednesday morning, after the spacecraft left Earth’s orbit, engineers from the Indian Space Research Organization directed the spacecraft to perform a critical maneuver, which is called Trans Lunar Insertion. This move will place the spacecraft on the trajectory that puts the probe into orbit around the moon – this will happen on the 20th of August.

They have also planned a series of maneuvers around the moon, and on the 7th of September, they will be landing on the moon. They will try to go near its south pole.

Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle from India launched Chandrayaan-2 in July. The small probe has a lander and a rover. It has been circling the Earth for the past few weeks. The probe used its propulsion system in order to increase the orbital distance from Earth. It is doing this in preparation for Tuesday’s escape from Earth’s orbit. Next week, when the probe will approach the moon, the propulsion system will slow the spacecraft’s speed. This will allow it to be put into the orbit by the gravity of the moon.

What about Vikram?

Once it gets in the orbit around the moon, the probe will release the lander called Vikram. The lender will perform some maneuvers to execute a soft landing on the south polar location of the moon. After it lands, Vikram will release the rover, which is called Pragyan.

The lander is named after Vikram Sarabhai, who is considered to be the father of India’s space agency. He is also an essential figure in the development of modern science. Sarabhai died in a plane crash in 1966.

The second moon mission of India is a proof-of-technology one, and the spacecraft has instruments that will help in performing basic science. The lander and the rover will help researchers in studying the south polar region and its topography and mineralogy.


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