In a huge success for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Chandrayaan-2 on Monday successfully released Vikram lander from the orbiter. The separation took place at 1.16 pm. Following separation, Vikram will perform two deorbit manoeuvres to prepare for its landing in the south polar region of the moon. Vikram lander of Chandrayaan-2 is designed to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days.
ISRO in a statement said: “The Vikram Lander successfully separated from Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter at 1315 Hrs IST today (September02, 2019). The Vikram Lander is currently located in an orbit of 119 km x 127 km. The Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter continues to orbit the Moon in its existing orbit. 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 Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, near Bengaluru.”
“All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter and Lander are healthy. The next maneuver is scheduled tomorrow (September 03, 2019) between 0845-0945 hrs IST,” it added.
The Vikram Moon Lander, named after the father of India’s space mission Vikram Sarabhai on his birth centenary year, is scheduled to touch the lunar surface near its south pole on September 7 at about 1.55 am.
The ISRO chairman K Sivan had said the proposed soft-landing on the Moon was going to be a “terrifying” moment as it is something ISRO has not done before, whereas LOI maneuver was successfully carried out during the Chandrayaan-1 mission.
The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network antennas at Bylalu, near Bengaluru, the space agency has said.
The Chandrayaan-2 satellite had begun its journey towards the moon leaving the earth’s orbit in the dark hours on August 14, after a crucial Trans Lunar Insertion manoeuvre by ISRO to place the spacecraft on “Lunar Transfer Trajectory”.
India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1 had successfully launched the 3,840-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into the earth’s orbit on July 22.
Following the landing, the rover ‘Pragyan’ will roll out from lander ‘Vikram’ and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of one lunar day, equivalent to 14 earth days.
The mission life of the lander is also one lunar day, while the orbiter will continue its mission for a year. The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon,while the lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments.