India is all set to land its first unmanned mission on the moon on September 7 as the country’s space agency on Wednesday successfully performed the second de-orbiting maneuver for the lander lowering its altitude and bringing it down closer to the celestial body. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said in a statement this morning that it conducted the nine-second de-orbiting operation beginning at 0342 hrs Indian time, as planned, using the onboard propulsion system.
The lander of the spacecraft ’s got separated from the orbiter two days ago and and both the orbiter and the lander are healthy, it said. “With this maneuver the required orbit for the Vikram lander to commence it descent towards the surface of the moon is achieved, the statement said. “The lander is scheduled to powered descent between 0100 - 0200 hrs IST on September 7, 2019, which is then followed by touch down of Lander between 0130 - 0230 hrs IST,” according to the ISRO.
The lander’s soft-landing on the moon will create history by making India the first nation to reach close to the moon's south pole in its first attempt and the fourth nation after Russia, the US and China to achieve unmanned landing on the lunar surface. The last fifteen minutes of descent of the lander to the moon’s surface has been described by ISRO Chairman K Sivan as "15 minutes of terror" because ISRO has never done a soft-landing on the moon before.
After the landing, the rover - 'Pragyan' - will roll out from 'Vikram' lander and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for 14 days looking for the presence of water and minerals. The mission life of the lander is also one lunar day, while the orbiter will continue its mission for a year.
India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MK-III-M1 had successfully launched the 3,840-kg Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft, which contained the orbiter, lander and the rover, into the earth's orbit on July 22. Chandrayaan 2 had began its journey towards the moon leaving the earth's orbit on August 14.