Chandrayaan-3 mission is in ‘normal health’, says ISRO; next stop: The Moon

A key manoeuvre to slingshot the Chandrayaan spacecraft towards the Moon from Earth's orbit was carried out successfully on 1 August.

BySouth First Desk

Published Aug 02, 2023 | 12:52 PMUpdatedAug 02, 2023 | 12:52 PM

ISRO Chandrayaan 3

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said the health of India’s third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, is fine — hours after it completed its scheduled orbits around the Earth and moved closer to the Moon.

The assessment came soon after a key manoeuvre — the slingshot, which shoots the spacecraft from the Earth’s orbit and propels it on the its path to the moon — was carried out successfully, Tuesday, 1 August.

“Chandrayaan-3 completes its orbits around the Earth and heads towards the moon,” the national space agency said, adding, “Next stop: The moon.”

With the manoeuvre, the spacecraft is in what is called a translunar orbit and approaching the Moon’s sphere of gravitational influence.

In about four days from now, another key manoeuvre will inject the spacecraft into the Moon’s orbit. The manoeuvre will be performed when Chandrayaan-3 is at the closest point to the Moon, known as the perilune.

“As it arrives at the moon, the Lunar-Orbit Insertion (LOI) is planned for 5 August,” ISRO said, adding, “A crucial manoeuvre at perilune would achieve the LOI.”

Also read: All you need to know about the Chandrayaan-3 moon quest

Slingshot manoeuvre successful

Earlier in the day, ISRO announced the success of the slingshot manoeuvre performed by scientists at the space centre in Bengaluru, when the spacecraft was closest to Earth (perigee).

“A successful perigee-firing performed at ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network). ISRO has injected the spacecraft into the translunar orbit,” it said.

After tracking Chandrayaan-3 throughout the day, ISRO said, “Today’s perigee burn has successfully raised Chandrayaan-3 orbit to 288 km x 369328 km.”

“The spacecraft’s health is normal,” ISRO added.

According to ISRO, it would attempt soft-landing on the lunar surface on 23 August.

The spacecraft’s orbit was progressively increased five times after the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon was launched on 14 July.

Also Read: Chandrayaan 3 starts lunar exploration journey 

Chandrayaan 3

The third lunar expedition by ISRO in 15 years, the hugely anticipated Chandrayaan 3 embarked on its month-long journey towards the moon, piggybacking on ISRO’s latest heavy-lift launch vehicle LVM3-M4 — nicknamed “Fat Boy” — from the spaceport Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

Through the Chandrayaan 3 mission, scientists are aiming at mastering the technology of soft landing on the surface of the moon.

A successful mission would mean India becomes only the fourth country to accomplish the challenge, after the US, the former Soviet Union, and China.

About 16 minutes after lift-off, Chandrayaan 3 was separated from the rocket and orbited Earth a few times in an elliptical cycle — 170 km at its closest and 36,500 km at its farthest — before moving towards the lunar orbit.

A jubilant ISRO Chairman S Somanath said from the Mission Control Centre (MCC) that the rocket had injected Chandrayaan 3 into a precise orbit.

(With PTI inputs)