Chandrayaan-2, orbiting the Earth after lift-off on July 22, completed its third orbit raising manoeuvre taking India three steps closer to the moon, India's space agency ISRO said today.
"Third earth bound orbit raising maneuver for Chandrayaan2 spacecraft has been performed today (July 29, 2019) at 1512 hrs (IST) as planned (sic)," the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO tweeted along with a photograph of the operations centre from where Chandrayaan-2's orbit raising is being monitored.
"Today after performing the third orbit raising maneuver, we are now 3 steps closer to the moon !!! (sic)," ISRO said in another tweet.
An orbit raising manoeuvre is the process of raising a satellite into an orbit towards to Moon, while it still revolves around the Earth.
The fourth orbit raising manoeuvre will take place on Friday, between 2 and 3 pm (IST), the space agency said, adding that "all spacecraft parameters are normal".
Ahead of Independence Day, Chandrayaan-2 is expected to nudge towards its long 3.84 lakh km journey to the moon; the satellite will be given independence from Earth's gravity so that it can then be captured by the gravity of the moon in what is referred to as a "tricky operation". The spacecraft is to be inserted into the moon's orbit on August 20.
Chandrayaan-2, ISRO's most complex and prestigious mission, lift off from its launch pad in Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota on July 22, a week after it was aborted just under an hour from its launch due to a technical glitch.
According to ISRO, the Vikram lander with the Pragyaan rover in its belly will make a soft landing in the South Pole region of the moon on September 7.
ISRO scientists will remotely control the rover while it carries out experiments. It will work for one lunar day, the equivalent of 14 Earth days, studying rocks and soil on the Moon's surface, according to news agency AFP.
The 2.4-tonne orbiter is expected to circle the Moon for about a year, taking images of the surface, looking for signs of water, and studying the atmosphere.
Chandrayaan-2 stands out because of its low cost, with some Rs 1,000 crore spent on preparations for the mission - a much smaller price tag compared to similar missions by other countries.
India will become the fourth nation after USA, Russia and China to soft land on the Moon if it succeeds. The last nation to attempt a soft landing on the Moon, Israel, failed in its maiden attempt earlier this year.
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