Stage set for separation of lander Vikram from Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter
The stage is all set for the crucial separation of lander Vikram from Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter this afternoon. According to ISRO, the separation is scheduled between 12:45 PM and 1:45 PM. The separation will allow the lander to travel towards the lunar surface, leaving the Orbiter to continue to revolve around the moon.
Yesterday evening, ISRO successfully carried out fifth and final orbit manoeuvre of Chandrayaan 2 to refine its circular path around the moon. The orbiter will remain in its orbit for a planned one year. The composite Chandrayaan-2 has the orbiter, the lander and the rover. The 1.5-ton lander carries in its belly the 27 kg rover. The mission of the lander is to soft-land on the lunar South Pole and to safely unleash the rover. The lander and the rover have a mission life of a single lunar day or 14 days of the earth.
The rover Pragyaan has two devices to probe the elemental composition of lunar soil near its landing site and derive the elemental abundance there.
The powered descent of the lander will be initiated early on September 7, resulting in its much-awaited soft-landing on the near-South Pole of the moon. After a few hours of soft-landing, the rover will come out of the lander’s belly and probe the nature of the lunar soil around its path. Once the mission is realized, India will become the fourth country to achieve soft-landing on the moon.
India has prior experience of deploying orbiters around celestial bodies, the first one around the moon in the form of Chandrayaan-1 and the other one around the Mars in the form of Mangalyaan, though the configurations are different. However, this is the first time a lander is going to be deployed along with a rover after their indigenous development.
The separation of the lander has been likened by the ISRO Chairman Dr Sivan to the bride leaving her parental home to reach her groom’s residence. The location of the intended soft-landing is a plain lying in between two craters near the pole called Manzinus C and Simpelius N. The mission is totally indigenous, that has tided over several challenges on its way. Chandrayaan-2 is a technology demonstrator, and its findings are set to reveal many secrets of the moon under its fold.