Final Lander to Separate Tomorrow,ISRO completed its final lunar.

With only one week left before Chandrayaan-3’s landing on the Moon’s surface, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday, August 16, successfully carried out the fifth and final orbit reduction manoeuvre, taking the craft closer to the moon. The orbit-reduction manoeuvre, which commenced at 8.30 a.m. (IST), was conducted from ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) centre in Bengaluru.

“Today’s successful firing, needed for a short duration, has put Chandrayaan-3 into an orbit of 153 km x 163 km, as intended. With this, the lunar bound manoeuvre are completed,” ISRO said.

Chandrayaan means ‘moon craft’ in Sanskrit. Chandrayaan-3 is the third lunar mission from India and it is set to soft- land on the moon and place a rover on the surface to carry out scientific surveys and experiments.

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission comprises a lander module (LM) named Vikram, a propulsion module (PM) and a rover named Pragyan, which is a six-wheeled, box-shaped moon rover.

After it completes the five orbit reduction manoeuvres, ISRO said that it is gearing up for the next phase of the mission- the most crucial operations scheduled on August 17. “It’s time for preparations as the Propulsion Module and the Lander Module gear up for their separate journeys. Separation of the Lander Module from the Propulsion Module is planned for August 17, 2023,” space agency ISRO said on Wednesday.

The propulsion module will separate from the lander Vikram while in at the nearest point of its orbit and the lander will proceed for a soft landing carrying the rover.

Following this crucial move, a series of complex counter-thrust or braking manoeuvres will be executed on the lander, in order to facilitate a soft landing in the South Polar region of the Moon on August 23. The lander is expected to touch down on the moon surface at 5.47 p.m. on that historic day.

After it was launched on July 14, Chandrayaan-3 completed five Earth-bound orbital manoeuvres between July 15 and 25, gradually increasing the length of the orbits. When it reached the farthest point, the crucial trans-lunar injection (TLI) was carried out on August 1, making a successful slingshot move to send Chandrayaan-3 towards the moon.
The move enabled Chandrayaan-3 to reach towards the lunar orbit on August 5 and was successfully inserted into the orbit around the moon. Since that time, five orbit reduction manoeuvres were carried out, to gradually reduce the distance of Chandrayaan-3’s orbit of the moon and position it over the lunar poles. It is scheduled to land on the south pole of the moon on August 23.