Artist’s concept of India’s lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan-2.
On August 20, 2019, a 29-minute-long Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) successfully placed Chandrayaan-2 into an orbit around the moon. The LOI was an important step forward in the mission because it decreased the spacecraft’s speed from 5,368 miles per hour (2.4 km per second) to 4,697 miles per hour (2.1 km per second). If the spacecraft had not slowed to that speed, its trajectory would have flung it away from the Earth-moon system. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced the update on Twitter:
#ISROToday (August 20, 2019) after the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI), #Chandrayaan2 is now in Lunar orbit. Lander Vikram will soft land on Moon on September 7, 2019 pic.twitter.com/6mS84pP6RD
— ISRO (@isro) August 20, 2019
ISRO is now decreasing the spacecraft’s orbit using the onboard propulsion system until it reaches 62 miles (100 km) above the moon’s surface. A second such maneuver was performed on August 21, 2019, to shorten the spacecraft’s current elliptical orbit to a circular one. According to a statement from ISRO:
Second lunar bound orbit maneuver for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today (August 21, 2019) beginning at 1250 hrs IST [07:20 UTC] as ...