Chandrayaan-3's Vikram Lander slowed down to enter a slightly lower orbit around the Moon this afternoon, in first of its two 'de-boosting' operations

New Delhi: India inched closer to its lunar dreams today with its ambitious Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully completing a key manoeuvre ahead of its landing of the Moon's surface next Wednesday.

The spacecraft's Vikram Lander slowed down to enter a slightly lower orbit around the Moon this afternoon, in first of its two 'deboosting' operations.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the country's space agency, shared the update and said the lander's health is normal.

"The Lander Module (LM) health is normal. LM successfully underwent a deboosting operation that reduced its orbit to 113 km x 157 km. The second deboosting operation is scheduled for August 20, 2023, around 0200 Hrs. IST," the ISRO said on X, formerly Twitter.

The lander enters an automation mode once de-boosting begins and based on data it will decide on its own how to go about its functions, former ISRO chief K Sivan said.

He added that the lander is the same one used in the previous Chandrayaan-2 mission. "There is no change in design. Based on observations from Chandrayaan-2, all errors that took place in the mission have been corrected," he said.

A successful landing on Moon will make India the historic fourth country to have achieved this feat.

A day earlier, the lander module separated from the propulsion module that had carried it all the way from the Earth - with a goodbye message "thanks for the ride, mate". The propulsion module will now continue orbiting Earth for months or even years, and study its atmosphere and measure the polarisation of light from Earth's clouds.

Following the detachment, the lander shared its first images of the moon today.

Vikram Lander will slow down once again on Sunday to place itself in an orbit where the closest point to the Moon is 30 km and the farthest is 100 km. From this orbit, it will attempt soft landing in the unexplored south polar region of the Moon on August 23, ISRO has said.

Once on the Moon, the lander Vikram will photograph the Pragyaan rover and vice versa. The rover which will study the chemical makeup of the moon's surface and search for water. It will have a life span of one lunar day, which is equivalent to 14 days on Earth.

Post a comment Chandrayaan-3 was launched into space by the LVM3 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 14 and entered the lunar orbit on August 5.