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September 2-8, 2019 / Vol 38, No 35 / Hawai’i Island, USA

30 Aug 2019, 19:47 UTC
September 2-8, 2019 / Vol 38, No 35 / Hawai’i Island, USA
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Chandrayaan-2 Poised to Deploy Lander, Rover to Lunar Surface

The final week of ISRO spacecraft Chandrayaan-2 voyage to the South Pole region of the Moon is commencing, with anticipated separation of lander module – named in honor of the late ISRO Chair Vikram Sarabhai – from orbiter September 2. The following day, a 3-second system checking maneuver will be executed. Vikram lander is to enter an elliptical orbit with apogee of 100 km and perigee of 30 km before a series of slowing maneuvers guide the 1,471-kg lander and 27-kg rover to a soft landing between craters Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at ~70° S on September 7. The orbiter will maintain a circular 100-km polar orbit for 1 year, where 8 scientific payloads will be utilized. Pragyan rover is to be deployed shortly after landing – both lander and rover should operate for 1 lunar day (~14 Earth days) as surviving the bitter cold of lunar night, which can reach -170°C / -275°F, is considered unlikely. Vikram payload contains thermal and plasma density measuring probes, laser retroreflector, and a seismometer. Pragyan has a range of 0.5 km and is powered by a 50-W solar array, allowing it to analyze ...

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