The Lander Module of India’s third lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 has completed its second and final deebost in the early hours of August 20.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) performed the second and final deebost of the Lander Module to reduce the Lander Module to 25 km x 134 km.
“Chandrayaan-3 Mission: The second and final deboosting operation has successfully reduced the LM orbit to 25 km x 134 km,” said ISRO after the deebost of the Lander Module.
On August 18, ISRO successfully performed the first deboosting operation that reduced its orbit to 113 km x 157 km. This was performed the day after the lander module separated from the propulsion module after a 34-day long journey towards the Moon.
Following the two deboost operations the much-awaited landing of the Lander with the Rover in its belly is expected to take place on August 23.
Post the second and final second and final deebost operation, ISRO said that the module would undergo internal checks and await the sun-rise at the designated landing site.
“The module would undergo internal checks and await the sun-rise at the designated landing site,” the space agency said.
Now that the two deebost operations have gone smoothly as planned, ISRO expected to perform the most critical part of the mission on August 23 which is to touch down on the lunar surface.
ISRO said that the powered descent is expected to commence at 5:45 p.m. on the designated day.
“The powered descent is expected to commence on August 23, 2023, around 1745 Hrs. IST,” ISRO posted on the social media platform X early on August 20.
Why wait for the sun-rise?
In July while announcing the date of the launch of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, ISRO Chairman S. Somanath said, “If the launch takes place on that day (July 14) then we will be ready for landing on the moon possibly by the last week of August. The date (landing date) is decided when there is sunrise on the Moon. When we are landing, sunlight must be there. So, the landing will be on August 23,” Mr. Somanath said.
Mr. Somanath said that if the landing does not take place as planned on August 23, then ISRO will wait for another month to make a landing attempt in September.
“The Lander and the Rover will stay on the Moon for 14 days until sunlight is there. When there is no sunlight, a small solar panel which is on the Rover will generate power to charge the battery for the next 14 days until light comes. The temperature there goes down to minus 40 degrees and in such an environment there is no guarantee that the battery, electronics will survive but we did some tests and we get the feeling that it will survive even in such harsh conditions,” Mr. Somanath said.