Jason DavisAug 20, 2019

Chandrayaan-2 Enters Lunar Orbit

India's Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft is safely in lunar orbit! The combination lander, rover, and orbiter fired its main engine for 29 minutes on 20 August, slipping into orbit around the Moon at 09:02 IST (03:32 UTC). ISRO reported the orbit has an apolune, or high point above the lunar surface, of 18,072 kilometers and a perilune, or low point above the surface, of 114 kilometers. 

Chandrayaan-2, India's Moon orbiter

India's Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft studies the composition of the Moon's surface and searches for signatures of water ice.

Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Orbit Insertion diagram
Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Orbit Insertion diagram This visualization, made using an orbit generator by Sankar Viswanathan, shows Chandrayaan-2's lunar orbit insertion burn on 20 August 2019.Image: Sankar Viswanathan

Chandrayaan-2 is expected to use 4 engine burns to circularize and lower its lunar orbit to roughly 100 kilometers by 1 September. The lander, named Vikram, will separate from the orbiter on 2 September and drop its own orbit down to about 100 by 30 kilometers. Vikram's final descent to the surface is scheduled for 7 September.

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