Chandrayaan-3, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lunar mission, has achieved a nearly circular orbit around the Moon. This comes after a successful manoeuvre on Wednesday, which positioned the spacecraft into a lunar orbit of 153*163km. Today, the Vikram lander is set to detach from the propulsion module.
Chandrayaan-3 status update by ISRO
Continuing its journey towards a lunar landing, the Chandrayaan-3 executed its fifth and final lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre, positioning itself even closer to the Moon’s surface. With this, the Indian spacecraft has now completed all the required Moon-bound manoeuvres, paving the way for the upcoming separation of the lander module – a composition of the lander and rover – from the propulsion module.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) performed a crucial lunar-bound manoeuvre with Chandrayaan-3 on Wednesday, the last such manoeuvre ahead of the scheduled separation of the spacecraft’s lander module from the propulsion module.
After separation, the lander will undergo a “deboost” to position itself in an orbit with a closest point (Perilune) of 30km and a farthest point (Apolune) of 100km. This orbit sets the stage for the planned soft landing attempt on the lunar south pole on August 23 at 5:47 pm.
Today’s successful firing, needed for a short duration, has put Chandrayaan-3 into an orbit of 153 km x 163 km, as intended.
With this, the lunar bound maneuvres are completed.
It’s time for preparations as the Propulsion Module and the Lander Module… pic.twitter.com/0Iwi8GrgVR
— ISRO (@isro) August 16, 2023
Following the activation and testing of its on-board instruments, including the three scientific payloads, the Lander will carry out two orbit-reduction manoeuvres: first, to get into the circular 100×100 km orbit, and then further closer to the Moon in the 100×30 km orbit.
It is from this 100×30 km orbit that the Lander will, on August 23, begin its final descent for touchdown on the Moon.
It was in this final phase of descent, a few seconds before touchdown, that the Chandrayaan-2 had malfunctioned, resulting in its crash landing.
“It’s time for preparations as the Propulsion Module and the Lander Module gear up for their separate journeys,” the ISRO said in a statement.