India’s second lunar module, the Chandrayaan-2 has started orbiting the Moon, nearly a month after being launched.
The Indian Space Research Organization officials took to Twitter to confirm that the manoeuvre to put the module into the lunar orbit was completed at 09:02 Indian Standard Time (7:32am UAE time) on Tuesday.
@isro tweeted: “Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) of #Chandrayaan2 manoeuvre was completed successfully today (August 20, 2019). The duration of manoeuvre was 1738 seconds beginning from 0902 hrs IST.”
The Chandrayaan-2 was launched from the Sriharikota space station on 22 July, a week after the originally scheduled launch was halted due to a technical snag.
India hopes the $145m (Dh532.6m) mission led by two female scientists, will be the first to land on the Moon’s south pole to study water deposits
Indian Twitter users were ecstatic and congratulated the ISRO team in charge of the mission.
@deepakpatelsd tweeted: “#Chandrayaan2’s successful placement in the lunar orbit marks another proud moment in India’s space mission history. Congratulations @isro!”
And, @laxvit2 who was apparently eagerly waiting for the announcement on Tuesday morning, posted: “I had put my breakfast on hold for this, now I can eat peacefully.”
What’s next for Chandrayaan-2?
According to a report by the Associated Press: “Chandrayaan will continue circling the moon in a tighter orbit until reaching a distance of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the moon’s surface.
“The lander will then separate from the orbiter and use rocket fuel to brake as it attempts India’s first moon landing on a relatively flat surface between two craters in the south polar region on September 7.”
ISRO chairman Dr. K. Sivan said during a news conference that the success rate of landing on the moon is only 37 per cent adding that if the semi-autonomous lander decides to land on its own, “it’ll be a mix of feeling, of happiness and tension and more anxiety.”
The AP report further mentioned: “A rover will study permanently shadowed craters that are thought to contain 100 million tons of water, deposits that were confirmed by a previous Indian moon mission.
“Scientists say water and mineral deposits could make the moon a good pit stop for further space travel.”