India's second unmanned moon mission 'Chandrayaan-2' is expected to reach the lunar orbit on August 20 and land on the lunar surface on September 7, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan said today.
The spacecraft is all set to leave the earth's orbit after two days, he told reporters in Ahmedabad after attending the birth centenary celebrations of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India's space programme.
The 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2, a three-module spacecraft comprising orbiter, lander and rover, which was launched on July 22, would make a landing on the moon on September 7, our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting Sivan.
"After launching Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, we did five maneuvers. The Chandrayaan-2 composite body is now revolving around the earth," he said adding the next very important and crucial maneuver will happen on Wednesday morning.
"At around 3:30am (Indian time) on August 14, we are going to have a maneuver called trans-lunar injection. By this maneuver, the Chandrayaan-2 will leave the earth and move towards the moon.
The Chandrayaan-2 will be around the moon on August 20. Subsequently, we have planned to have a series of maneuvers around the moon and finally on September 7, we will be landing on the moon near its south pole," the ISRO chief said.
Sivan said the spacecraft was "doing very well" at present and all its systems were functioning properly.
He said scientists at the ISRO will be busy in coming months, particularly in December when the space agency would take up a mission to launch small satellites. “This is for the first time we are going to have this mission," he said.