India's second moon mission 'Chandrayaan-2' is expected to reach the moon's orbit on August 20 and land on the lunar surface on September 7, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr K Sivan said on Monday.
The spacecraft is all set to leave the earth's orbit after two days, he told the press. Sivan was in Ahmedabad to take part in the birth centenary celebrations of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, regarded as the father of India's space program. 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, the ISRO chief said:
"After launching Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, we did five maneuvers. The Chandrayaan-2 composite body is now revolving around the earth," he said.
The next very important and crucial maneuver will happen on Wednesday morning.
"At around 3.30 am 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. On August 20, we will be reaching the moon," he said.
"Then, we will be carrying out lunar orbit insertion. By this process, 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," he added.
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.
"In December, we are going to have a very important mission. It's a small satellite launcher. This is for the first time we are going to have this mission," he said.
Earlier on August 4, ISRO posted the much-awaited pictures of earth captured by Chandrayaan 2 from outer space. This was after the ISRO announced that fourth earthbound orbit-raising maneuver for the Chandrayaan-2 was performed.