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Science & Tech

August 16, 2023 11:44 AM IST

Chandrayaan-3 completes final lunar-bound manoeuvre; lander to separate tomorrow

Chandrayaan-3 | Mission Moon | lunar orbit | lander module | Vikram | Pragyan | ISRO

In a crucial firing operation on August 16, Chandrayaan-3 completed its lunar bound maneuvres, and entered into an orbit of 153 km x 163 km around the Moon. With this fifth and final orbit reduction manoeuvre, the spacecraft is one step closer to its ultimate goal.The manoeuvre which commenced at 8.30 a.m. was performed from ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru.

Departing from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 14, 2023, Chandrayaan-3 has been making consistent strides on its way to the Moon. Comprising a Propulsion Module and a Lander Module, the spacecraft is currently gearing up for a notable juncture in its expedition. On August 17, the Lander Module is slated to detach from the Propulsion Module, initiating their individual journeys. In a post on X, Indian Space Research Organisation said, “It’s time for preparations as the Propulsion Module and the Lander Module gear up for their separate journeys. Separation of the Lander Module from the Propulsion Module is planned for August 17, 2023.”

A box-shaped structure adorned with a substantial solar panel and a cylinder atop, the Propulsion Module has shouldered the task of ferrying the Lander and Rover setup until the spacecraft achieves a lunar orbit of 100 km. Following the detachment, the Propulsion Module will persist in its function as a communication relay satellite.

In the meantime, the Lander Module, designated as Vikram, is set to initiate its independent trajectory towards the lunar surface. Configured with four landing legs and four landing thrusters of 800 newtons each, Vikram is tailored for a gentle touchdown on the lunar surface. Enclosed within Vikram is the rover named Pragyan and together, they are called the lander module. Pragyan is slated for deployment once a successful landing is achieved.

With the approach of its targeted landing date on August 23, near the lesser-explored southern pole of the Moon, excitement is mounting for the mission. A successful outcome would not only represent a noteworthy accomplishment for the ISRO but also offer invaluable insights to enhance our comprehension of lunar phenomena.

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Last updated on: 28th February 2024