Chandrayaan-3 Mission: ISRO Provides Promising Updates on Lunar Landing Location

On August 6, Sunday, around 11 PM, ISRO reduced Chandrayaan-3’s orbit. The spacecraft is now in a polar orbit of approximately 170 km x 4313 km. This change brings Chandrayaan into an elongated orbit with the minimum distance from the Moon at 170 km and the maximum distance at 4313 km.

To alter the orbit, ISRO fired the spacecraft’s engines for a brief duration. The next orbit-changing operation is scheduled for August 9, 2023, between 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. Previously, Chandrayaan was in a polar orbit of about 164 km x 18074 km.

After a 22-day journey, Chandrayaan entered the Moon’s orbit on Saturday evening around 7:15 PM. To reduce its velocity and enable lunar capture, ISRO scientists fired the thrusters for approximately 1835 seconds, or nearly half an hour, to lower the spacecraft’s speed. The firing operation began at 7:12 PM.

I am Chandrayaan-3, experiencing lunar gravity. ISRO had shared a message via X post, stating, “I am Chandrayaan-3, experiencing lunar gravity.” ISRO confirmed that Chandrayaan-3 has successfully entered the Moon’s orbit. Before the landing on August 23, the spacecraft’s orbit will be lowered four times, with one reduction performed on Sunday.

When Chandrayaan was closest to the Moon during its orbit, the thrusters fired. ISRO provided information that the Perilune Retro-Burning Mission Operations Complex (MOX), based in ISTRAC, Bengaluru, was given orders.

Perilune is the point in the lunar orbit where the spacecraft is closest to the Moon. Retro-burning involves firing the thrusters in the opposite direction to slow down the spacecraft’s velocity.

On August 1, Chandrayaan-3 left Earth’s orbit for the Moon in a Trans-lunar Injection (TLI) maneuver. Around 12 AM, the spacecraft was fired towards the Moon from Earth’s orbit. Previously, it was in an elongated orbit with a minimum distance of 236 km and a maximum distance of 1,27,603 km from Earth. It is scheduled to land on the Moon on August 23.

For the Trans-lunar Injection maneuver, the spacecraft’s engines were ignited for a short duration. The maneuver was performed from ISRO’s headquarters in Bengaluru. When Chandrayaan was approximately 236 km from Earth, the engines were fired to perform the injection. ISRO stated that Chandrayaan-3 is progressing towards the Moon, completing its lunar trajectory around Earth. The spacecraft is now placed in the Trans-lunar Orbit.

The lander and rover on Chandrayaan-3 will operate on the Moon for 14 days. The mission consists of a lander, rover, and propulsion module. The lander and rover will descend to the Moon’s south pole region and conduct experiments for 14 days. The propulsion module will remain in the lunar orbit and study radiation from Earth. ISRO aims to study seismic activities on the Moon’s surface and also investigate how the Moon experiences Earthquakes. Additionally, the mission will examine the Moon’s terrain.

Chandrayaan-3’s journey so far:

  • On July 14, launched into an orbit of approximately 170 km x 36,500 km.
  • On July 15, increased the orbit to 41,762 km x 173 km for the first time.
  • On July 17, increased the orbit further to 41,603 km x 226 km for the second time.
  • On July 18, raised the orbit to 51,400 km x 228 km for the third time.
  • On July 20, increased the orbit to 71,351 km x 233 km for the fourth time.
  • On July 25, raised the orbit to 1,27,603 km x 236 km for the fifth time.
  • On July 31 and August 1, departed from Earth’s orbit.

Niyati Rao

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