Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram and rover Pragyan have reached closer to the Moon a day after separating from the orbiter on Monday. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully completed the first de-orbiting manoeuvre at 8.50 am on Tuesday morning.Vikram is now flying around the moon in an orbit of 104x128 km which is at the closest point of the orbit. The lander is now 104 kilometres away from Moon's surface, whereas at the farthest point it is 120 kilometres away.
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Here's view of Control Centre at ISTRAC, Bengaluru pic.twitter.com/Ddeo2URPg5- ISRO (@isro) September 3, 2019
Meanwhile, Vikram will carry out another similar manoeuvre on Wednesday to come down to an even lower orbit of 36x110 km around the Moon. The lander will begin a final 15-min powered descent on September 7. Then towards the end of the same, it will place Pragyaan on the Moon's surface.
The lander is scheduled to touch the lunar surface five days from the separation. Lander Vikram and rover Pragyan are set for a soft landing on September 7 around 1:55 am. The separation was carried out at 1:15 pm on Monday. ISRO mentioned that all the systems of Chandrayaan-2 and the lander are healthy.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan has said the soft-landing on the moon will be a "terrifying" moment as it is something that has not been done before, whereas the Lunar Orbit Insertion manoeuvre was successfully carried out during the Chandrayaan-1 mission.
Rover Pragyaan, a six-wheeled robotic vehicle, will roll out from the lander once they touch the ground to carry out various tests on the lunar soil. Detecting the presence of water and other minerals is one of the primary missions of the rover.
The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads to map 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. The rover carries two payloads to enhance the understanding of the lunar surface.
(Edited by: Manali)