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Chandrayaan 2, India’s second moon mission, has completed its final orbit-lowering manoeuvre around the moon at 6.21 pm this evening. With this final adjustment to the spacecraft’s altitude, the Chandrayaan 2 composite was lowered from an elliptical orbit of 126 x 168 km (nearest x farthest distance) elliptical orbit to an almost-circular orbit of 119 x 127 km.

The spacecraft’s onboard propulsion system (popularly known as “thrusters” were fired for 52 seconds in the mission’s fifth and final orbit-lowering manoeuvre in the moon’s orbit.  ISRO has also announced that the landing module (the Vikram lander with the Pragyan rover inside it) is scheduled for separation on 2 September between 12.45 – 1.45 pm. If successful, Vikram lander will then be put on a separate, circular path identical to the orbiter, passing over the lunar poles at a distance of roughly 100 km from the surface.

Chandrayaan 2 composite completes final in-orbit manoeuvre before Vikram landers separation

Chandrayaan 2 composite orbiting the moon before the lander’s separation. Image: ISRO

By attaining a near-circular orbit, there are only three more mission milestones before the Vikram lander attempts its planned soft-landing on the moon’s surface on 7 September at 1.55 am IST. This includes two deorbit (orbit-lowering) manoeuvres on 3 and 4 September and its powered descent from an elliptical orbit of 36 x 110 km between 1.30-2.30 am on 7 September.

Over the course of the next few days, the first maps of the landing site will be created (planned for 3 and 4 September) by the Vikram lander to ensure the landing site is safe, as previously thought, to make a soft-landing. This is a crucial step in the mission since ISRO’s mission engineers won’t be operating the spacecraft remotely from the control centre.

The orbiter will also be surveilling its year-long home for the first time, ensuring that no damage was caused to its instruments on the journey so far and conducting a thorough examination of the Vikram lander’s landing site at the moon’s South Polar region.

While subsequent events in the mission won’t be streamed live, you can catch live updates on the mission on our dedicated Chandrayaan 2 domain, our Twitter pageISRO’s website, or Twitter page.

Find our entire collection of stories, in-depth analysis, live updates, videos & more on Chandrayaan 2 Moon Mission on our dedicated #Chandrayaan2TheMoon domain.

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