Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) successfully conducted the second Earth-bound orbit raising maneuver for the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft.
Isro officials said that second maneuver has been performed successfully on Friday at 0108 hours (IST) as planned, using the onboard propulsion system for a firing duration of 883 seconds. The orbit achieved was 251 x 54829 km. All spacecraft parameters were normal.
The third orbit raising maneuver is scheduled on July 29, 2019, between 1430–1530 hours (IST).
India's second mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2, is expected to reach the Moon on August 20, 2019.
The first earth-bound orbit raising maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 was performed successfully on July 24, 2019, at 1452 hours (IST) as planned.
Between July 26 and August 8, four Earth-bound maneuvers have been planned, culminating in Trans Lunar Insertion on August 14, which will send Chandrayaan-2 to the Moon.
On July 22, at 2.43 pm, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk III (GSLV-Mk III), carrying the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, lifted off from its launchpad.
The GSLV-Mk III costs Rs 375 crore and Chandrayaan-2 Rs 603 crore.
After a technical snag made Isro abort the takeoff on July 15, the space agency succeeded in putting the satellite in the desired orbit, or a better orbit, as the first step of its 48-day journey to the Moon's unexplored south pole, about 384,000 km away.
Despite its journey being delayed by a week, the space agency has reworked its schedule so that it can land on the south pole on the previously fixed date.
For this, Isro is adjusting the travel time by tweaking the Earth-bound phase and lunar-bound phase, according to officials. According to the new timeline, the Earth-bound phase has been increased by six days to 23 days and the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) has been decreased to 13 days from the previous 28 days.
Thus, in total, the space agency has reduced the travel time by nine days, while it has lost only seven days due to postponing the launch from July 15 to July 22, said experts.
Isro chairman K Sivan told Business Standard that the space agency has 45 days for the mission and it can always adjust the journey. "To go to Moon, it will take only five days. During the rest of the days, the satellite is orbiting around Earth or Moon, so we can adjust during the period," he said.
According to the new schedule, Chandrayaan-2 will be orbiting around the Earth for 23 days and on August 14, Isro will conduct the Trans Lunar Injection. The satellite would be in the Lunar Transfer Trajectory from Day 23 to Day 30. On August 20, it will be inserted into lunar orbit and will be there till September 1. On September 2, the lander will be separated from the orbiter and on September 3, Isro will conduct a deboosting. On September 7, according to the earlier plan, the lander would be landing on the Moon, on the 48th day from the day of launch.
According to experts, the distance and time of the orbit have been increased by 6,000 kilometres due to the delay. Therefore, more time on the Earth orbit and lesser on the Moon orbit is based on the positioning of the Moon. This has been achieved by a 15 per cent increase in the efficiency of the GSLV Mk 3, enhancing the performance capability of the vehicle, hence making up for the delay.