This week, September 1, India's Chandrayaan-2 performed its final maneuver in the Moon’s orbit, setting itself on the path with a range of 74-79 miles above the surface. The next step, planned for 12:45 pm Indian Standard Time on September 2, was to release the Vikram lander, which, once separated, would deorbit, making two maneuvers, to be on the way to land on the lunar South Pole. Today, the operation was completed according to plan
Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lunar lander, carrying the Pragyan rover, separated from the top of the orbiter, and is now about 100 kilometres from the surface, set to land on a more or less flat spot near the Moon’s south pole on this week.
Tomorrow, September3, the Vikram lander will deorbit to make a descent and touchdown on September7 to put the Pragyan rover on the lunar surface.
The lander received its name after the man who is revered as the father of the Indian space program, Vikram A. Sarabhai.
The lander and the rover are designed to work for one lunar day, which equals two weeks on Earth.
Once on the surface, Vikram is planned to get to work studying the deposits of water confirmed in 2008 by Chandrayaan-1.
In a matter of days, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s second lunar mission has every chance of making India the fourth of the world’s nations with a rover on the Moon. ISRO’s chief Dr K. Sivan has warned that landing India’s probe will involve a number of technical complexities. Nevertheless, now India is closer than ever to making history by becoming the fourth of the world’s nations to have a rover working on the Moon - and who knows what discoveries may follow!