India’s Chandrayaan-2 is 2 weeks away from its moon landing | 8/25/2019 | Sharmila Kuthunur
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Artist’s concept of India’s lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan-2.

On August 20, 2019, a 29-minute-long Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) successfully placed Chandrayaan-2 into an orbit around the moon. The LOI was an important step forward in the mission because it decreased the spacecraft’s speed from 5,368 miles per hour (2.4 km per second) to 4,697 miles per hour (2.1 km per second). If the spacecraft had not slowed to that speed, its trajectory would have flung it away from the Earth-moon system. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced the update on Twitter:

ISRO - Spacecraft - Orbit - Onboard - Propulsion

ISRO is now decreasing the spacecraft’s orbit using the onboard propulsion system until it reaches 62 miles (100 km) above the moon’s surface. A second such maneuver was performed on August 21, 2019, to shorten the spacecraft’s current elliptical orbit to a circular one. According to a statement from ISRO:

Second lunar bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (August 21, 2019) beginning at 1250 hrs IST [07:20 UTC] as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of the maneuver was 1228 seconds. The orbit achieved is 118 km x 4412 km [73 x 2,741 miles]. All spacecraft parameters are normal.

Orbit - Maneuver - August - IST

The next lunar-bound orbit maneuver is scheduled on August 28, 2019, between 0530-0630 hrs IST.

Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to enter its final circular orbit around the moon on September 1, 2019. This orbit will pass over the lunar poles, one of which will be the landing site for Vikram – Chandrayaan-2’s lander that aims to soft-land on the moon’s south pole. The orbiter will orbit at a 62 miles (100 km) distance from the moon’s surface for a period of one year, making a pass over both of the moon’s poles with each revolution.

Image - Moon

Here is the first image of the moon captured by...
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