India's Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Snaps Its First Picture of the Moon
India's Chandrayaan-2 mission is in orbit around the moon, and its view is spectacular.
The spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Aug. 19 (Aug. 20 local time at mission control in India), about a month after its launch, on July 22. In order to make the journey more feasible with a smaller rocket, the spacecraft took a long road to the moon, with about seven weeks between launch and the scheduled touchdown of the mission's lander and orbiter.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which runs the Chandrayaan-2 mission, has now released the spacecraft's first image of the moon taken from orbit. That image was snapped from about 1,650 miles (2,650 kilometers) above the lunar surface on Wednesday (Aug. 21). The photograph shows part of the far side of the moon, including Apollo crater and Mare Orientalis.
But that region is not Chandrayaan-2's destination. An orbiter will separate from the Indian mission, and then the lander, with a rover tucked onboard, will head toward a location much closer to the moon's south pole, with landing scheduled for Sept. 6 (Sept. 7 local time at mission control).
The ISRO chose that destination in part based on the findings from the mission's predecessor, which carried the instrument that spotted water ice frozen in permanently shadowed craters near the lunar south pole. And so India built a second mission, adding a landed component this time, to follow up on that discovery.
If the lander safely touches down, India will become the fourth country to complete that feat, after the Soviet Union, the U.S. and China. The lander and rover would operate for one lunar day but are not designed to withstand the frigid lunar nights.
India's Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Scouts the Moon in New Lunar Photos
India's Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft is settling into orbit around the moon and has an incredible view as it waits to try to make history.
The spacecraft arrived in lunar orbit on Aug. 19 (Aug. 20 local time at the Indian Space Research Organisation's mission control) and is currently conducting a series of maneuvers to tweak that orbit in preparation for a landing attempt in less than two weeks.
As it does so, the spacecraft is capturing stunning images of the moon's pitted surface, including a set taken on Aug. 23 by the vehicle's Terrain Mapping Camera 2. Those images include one showing the lunar north pole, including Plaskett, Rozhdestvenskiy, Hermite, Sommerfeld and Kirkwood craters.
A second image shows a region of the far side's northern hemisphere, including the Jackson, Mach, Mitra and Korolev craters.
Chandrayaan-2 is settling into an orbit sweeping between the poles of the moon. In about a week, the orbiter will separate from the rest of the mission and continue on this path for the next year or so. The probe is modeled on India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which carried the instrument that confirmed the presence of water ice in craters near the moon's poles.
The lander portion of the spacecraft, with a rover tucked on board, will head toward the surface near the moon's south pole, attempting India's first soft lunar landing. If the maneuver is successful, the country will become just the fourth to have accomplished such a feat, after the Soviet Union, the U.S. and China.
Landing is scheduled for Sept. 6 (Sept. 7 at mission control).
ISRO releases latest photos of Moon craters taken by Chandrayaan-2
The space agency said the pictures of the lunar surface were taken on August 23 by the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 of Chandrayaan-2 from an altitude of about 4,375 km.
Chandrayaan-2 captured some images of the lunar surface.(ISRO image)
Chandrayaan-2, which is currently orbiting the Moon, has captured some more images of the lunar surface showing several craters, the Indian Space Research Organisation said on Monday Sharing the pictures, the ISRO said in a statement that the photos captured by the lunar spacecraft are those of craters Somerfeld, Kirkwood, Jackson, Mach, Korolev, Mitra, Plaskett, Rozhdestvenskiy and Hermite.
These craters have been named after great scientists, astronomers and physicists.
Crater Mitra has been named after Prof Sisir Kumar Mitra, an Indian physicist and Padma Bhushan recipient known for his pioneering work in the field of ionosphere and Radiophysics.
The space agency said these pictures of the lunar surface were taken on August 23 by the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 of Chandrayaan-2 from an altitude of about 4,375 km. The first picture of Moon captured by Chandrayaan-2 was released by ISRO on August 22.
Chandrayaan-2, a three-module spacecraft comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, was launched on July 22.ISRO had on August 21 performed second lunar bound orbit manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 and said all spacecraft parameters are normal.
There will be three more orbit manoeuvres before the lander’s separation from the Orbiter on September 2 and eventual soft landing in the south polar region of the Moon, planned on September 7.
Chandrayaan-2's Third Lunar-Bound Orbit Manoeuvre Performed Successfully: ISRO
Chandrayaan-2's next lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre is scheduled on August 30.
The telemetry, tracking and command network of the Indian space agency (ISTRAC) performed the third lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, the agency said on Wednesday. "The next lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre is scheduled on August 30 between 6-7pm IST," ISRO said, adding that spacecraft parameters are normal.
"The manoeuvre was performed successfully today (Wednesday) beginning at 9:04 hours IST, using the on-board propulsion system. The duration of the exercise was 1,190 seconds (19:84 minutes)," said state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in a statement on its official website.
Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft with lander Vikram and rover Pragyan was launched on-board a heavy rocket (GSLV Mark III) on July 22 from ISRO's rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh off the Bay of Bengal coast, about 90km north of Chennai.
Earlier this week, ISRO released fresh photos of the moon taken by Chandrayaan-2. The photographs show the surface of the moon and its craters taken by the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 of the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft. According to ISRO, the pictures were taken on August 23 at an altitude of about 4,375km showing impact craters like Jackson, Mitra, Mach, and Korolev.
ISRO said Jackson is an impact crater located in the northern hemisphere of the far side of the Moon. The crater's diameter is 71km.
The interesting feature at the western outer rim of the Mach crater is another impact crater named Mitra (92km in diameter).
Chandrayaan-2 Closer to Moon With Orbit Change, Final Orbit Manoeuvre on Sunday
There will be one more orbit manoeuvre on Sunday for Chandrayaan-2
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday said it has successfully performed the fourth lunar bound orbit manoeuvre for the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, that is currently in the lunar orbit for its rendezvous with the Moon. All spacecraft parameters are normal, the Bengaluru headquartered space agency said after the manoeuvre on the spacecraft.
"Fourth Lunar bound orbit manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (August 30, 2019) beginning at 1818 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of the manoeuvre was 1155 seconds. The orbit achieved is 124 km x 164 km," the ISRO said in an update.
The next Lunar bound orbit manoeuvre is scheduled on September 1. In a major milestone for India's second Moon mission, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft had successfully entered the lunar orbit on August 20 by performing Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuvre.
There will be one more orbit manoeuvre on Sunday to make the spacecraft enter its final orbit, passing over the lunar pole at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon's surface.
ISRO has said subsequently the lander will separate from the Orbiter (on September 2) and enter into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the Moon.
It will then perform a series of complex braking manoeuvres to soft land in the South polar region of the Moon on September 7, 2019.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan has 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 manoeuvre 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.
According to ISRO, the mission objective of Chandrayaan-2 is to develop and demonstrate the key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on the lunar surface.
On the science front, this mission aims to further expand the knowledge about the moon through a detailed study of its topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics and atmosphere, leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon, the space agency had said.
Indian moon mission's landing module separates from orbiter
The landing module of India's unmanned moon mission separated from the orbiter on Monday ahead of its planned touchdown on the moon's south polar region this weekend, the space agency said.
All the systems of orbiter and the lander are "healthy," the Indian Space Research Organization said in a statement.
Monday's maneuver removed the lander from the orbiter's top, where it had been sitting since the mission took off from southern India on July 22. The module has currently reached a distance of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the moon's surface, the space agency said.
The module will attempt India's first moon landing on a relatively flat surface on Sept. 7 to study previously discovered water deposits. The roughly $140 million mission is known as Chandrayaan-2, the Sanskrit word for "moon craft."
Chandrayaan-1 orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water
Space agency chairman Dr. K. Sivan has said that landing on the lunar surface involves a lot of technical complexities — an event he described as "15 terrifying minutes."
If India did manage the landing, it would be only the fourth country to do so after the U.S., Russia and China.
India plans to send humans into space by 2022.
Moon lander separates from India's Chandrayaan-2 orbiter
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday said that Vikram Lander has successfully separated from India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter.
ISRO said in a statement that, "The Vikram Lander successfully separated from Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter at 1315 IST today (Sept. 2). 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."
ISRO added that all the systems of Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter and Lander are healthy.
Launched on July 22, Vikram Lander will attempt to make a soft-landing on the Lunar surface on Sept. 7. The lander has been named in honor of the father of Indian space research program Vikram Sarabhai.