Isro has successfully completed the crucial orbit manoeuvre and put India's moonshot Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft into the lunar orbit on Tuesday (August 20) morning, after almost a month of the journey in space.
The Indian space agency has said the significant milestone was achieved after Chandrayaan 2's liquid engine was ignited for around 1738 seconds. The Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) was completed at 9.02 am as planned using the onboard propulsion system.
Isro has said in a statement, "Following this, a series of orbit manoeuvres will be performed on Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft to enable it to enter its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the moon's surface."
"Subsequently, the lander will separate from the orbiter and enter into a 100 km x 30 km orbit around the moon. Then, it will perform a series of complex braking manoeuvres to soft-land in the south polar region of the moon on September 7, 2019," ISRO said.
"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 Bylalu, near Bengaluru. All the systems of Chandrayaan 2 are healthy," ISRO said in a post on its website today.
ISRO also said that the next lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21, between 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm.
It was on July 22 when Chandrayaan-2 was injected into an elliptical orbit of 170X45,475 km by India's heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III). The spacecraft comprises three segments - the Orbiter, the lander 'Vikram' and rover 'Pragyan'.
ISRO said the major activities include Earth-bound manoeuvres, the trans-lunar insertion, lunar-bound manoeuvres, Vikram's separation from Chandrayaan-2 and touch down on the Moon's the South Pole.
Achieving the biggest milestone, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said, "It was a tense 30-minute operation. The tension and anxiety kept on building as the clock ticked. It was a great relief and joy when the Chandrayaan-2 was put into the lunar orbit successfully."
India's first moon mission -- Chandrayaan-1 -- was in 2008.