Chandrayaan 2 was successfully inserted into lunar orbit on Tuesday and ISRO chief Dr K Sivan shared that the moments before the insertion were ‘terrifying.’

For 30 mins our hearts almost stopped ISRO chief on Chandrayaan 2 entering lunar orbitPTI
news Chandrayaan 2 Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 15:04

“For 30 minutes, our hearts almost stopped today,” shared ISRO chairman K Sivan, as India’s ambitious second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 crossed a major milestone by entering the lunar orbit on Tuesday. The ISRO chief was addressing a press conference in Bengaluru after the Chandrayaan 2 was successfully inserted into the moon’s orbit at 9.02 am on Tuesday and the total duration of the manoeuver was about 30 minutes (1,738 seconds).

"The tension increased,” said Dr Sivan, when asked about the moments leading up to and after the insertion into the orbit.

The next major step for the moon mission will be on September 2, when the Vikram lander is scheduled to separate from the orbiter. Vikram lander will separate from the Orbiter and then enter into a 100km x 30km orbit around the Moon.

“On September 3, we will have a small manoeuvre for about 3 seconds to ensure that the systems of the lander are running normally,” Dr K Sivan said. The lander is expected to make the soft landing at the Moon’s south pole on September 7, at 1.55 am.

“Even though we had a successful lunar orbit insertion today, the landing is a terrifying moment because till now the lander systems have not operated, that will only come after the 2nd (September). Then only we will know better. Why we are calling it a terrifying moment is because that is a phase which we will be doing for the first time. Today's lunar orbit insertion we have already done once, whereas the hover's descent, that will be a first for us and we may face difficulty there,” explained Dr K Sivan.

The launch of Chandrayaan 2 was carried out successfully on July 22, 2019 by the GSLV Mk-III and had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14.

The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru. All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 are healthy, ISRO said.

On September 7, the ‘Pragyaan’ rover will roll out – a process that may take around 3 hours – and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of 1 lunar day, which is equal to 14 Earth days. The ISRO chief said that the camera on the rover will be active right from the time the rover starts rolling out of the lander and the pictures from the rover can be received in the consequent five minutes as well. Soon after, the rover will start sending scientific data back to Earth.

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