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Chandrayaan-3 Lunar orbit update
File illustration of Chandrayaan-3 - India's second lunar landing attempt.
Chandrayaan-3 Lunar orbit update
by Staff Writers
Bengaluru, India (SPX) Aug 19, 2023

The Chandrayaan-3 mission continues to make significant strides as its Lander Module has now achieved an orbit of 113 km x 157 km around the Moon. This crucial development was shared by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). With a keen focus on the anticipated soft landing on the Moon's South Polar region on August 23, a second de-boosting is already planned for August 20.

The mission's timeline has seen a series of critical maneuvers over the past few days. On August 17, the Lander Module was successfully separated from the Propulsion Module, marking a pivotal step in Chandrayaan-3's trajectory. Following this separation, the first de-boosting was scheduled and executed on August 18.

Earlier, the spacecraft had undergone a series of orbital changes. By August 16, Chandrayaan-3 had adjusted its orbit to 153 km x 163 km. On August 14, during its orbit circularisation phase, it had achieved an orbit of 151 km x 179 km. Additionally, on August 9, a vital maneuver reduced the spacecraft's orbit to 174 km x 1437 km.

ISRO has been vigilantly monitoring Chandrayaan-3 since its commencement. With operations led from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (ISTRAC) and the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antenna at Byalalu, the spacecraft's health remains optimal. Collaborations with the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) ensure precise deep space tracking.

Chandrayaan-3's mission, at its core, aims to validate a successful soft landing on the Moon. Distinguishing itself from Chandrayaan-2, this mission is exclusively outfitted with a lander and a rover. The initiative to explore the Moon's South Polar region stems from its potential reservoirs of water ice, a crucial element for future lunar and possibly deep-space missions.

Reflecting on Chandrayaan-2's endeavors in 2019 provides context to the current mission's objectives. While the Vikram lander faced challenges in its descent, resulting in a hard landing, the mission's orbiter emerged as a prominent tool, granting significant insights into lunar characteristics. These prior experiences have been pivotal in informing Chandrayaan-3's path.

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