India on second moon mission

Indian Space Research Organization said on Monday that it would fire the liquid engine of the country’s second unmanned moon mission tomorrow to insert the spacecraft into a lunar orbit. "It's tomorrow morning (tentatively between 8.30 am and 9.30 am Indian time). It's challenging," Chairman of Indian Space Research Organization K Sivan told the media on the operation to put the spacecraft in an orbit around the moon.

Following this, there will be four more orbit manoeuvres to make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from moon's surface, ISRO has said. Subsequently, the spacecraft’s lander will separate from the orbiter on September 2, according to the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency.

Two orbit manoeuvres will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 7, ISRO said. Chandrayaan2, launched on July 22 by India’s heaviest rocket GSLV MkIII-M1, had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14 after final orbit raising manoeuvre of the spacecraft was successfully carried out.

All systems on board Chandrayaan2 spacecraft are performing normal, ISRO had said on August 14. According to ISRO, Chandrayaan2 India's second lunar expedition will shed light on a completely unexplored region of the moon, its South Pole. "This mission will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface," the space agency has said.

"While there, we will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan1, such as the presence of water molecules on the moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition," it said.