Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on August 9 successfully carried out another orbit reduction manoeuvre of India’s third moon mission Chandrayaan-3.
The manoeuvre was performed from ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) centre in Bengaluru. The spacecraft is now just 1,437 km away from the moon.
ISRO stated: “Even closer to the moon’s surface. Chandrayaan-3’s orbit is reduced to 174 km x 1437 km following a manoeuvre performed today. The next operation is scheduled for August 14, 2023, between 11:30 and 12:30 Hrs. IST.”
The fifth and final orbit reduction manoeuvre will be carried out on August 16.
The Chandrayaan-3 was launched on July 14. It consists of a lander module (LM), a propulsion module (PM) and a rover.
After the lunar orbit insertion on August 5, ISRO stated: “As the mission progresses, a series of manoeuvres have been planned to gradually reduce Chandrayaan-3’s orbit and position it over the lunar poles. After some manoeuvres, the propulsion module will separate from the lander while in orbit. Following that, a series of complex braking manoeuvres will be executed to facilitate a soft landing in the south polar region of the Moon on August 23, 2023.”
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The PM and LM separation would happen on August 17. A series of de-boost manoeuvres is scheduled to take place before the power descent phase for soft-landing on the moon. The lander is expected to touch down on the lunar surface on August 23 at 5.47 p.m.
Lander would land even if sensors fail
Delivering a talk on Chandrayaan-3 Bharat’s Pride Space Mission on August 8, ISRO Chairman S. Somanath said that even if all sensors fail while the space agency attempts to make the soft landing on the lunar surface on August 23, the lander would still be able to land
“If all the sensors fail, we will still be able to land, provided that the propulsion system works. Even if the two engines fail, we will be able to land. That’s how the design has been made,” Mr Somanath said.
He went on to add that, this time, they have made all the systems more robust, have changed the guidance design, and introduced newer algorithms.