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August 20, 2019: India's Moon Probe Enters Lunar Orbit

chandrayaan 2

Chandrayaan 2 (also known as Moon Chariot 2) is India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan 1. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the mission was launched from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre on 22 July 2019. The mission was launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III). It consists of a lunar orbiter, a lander, and a lunar rover named Pragyan. All of these were developed in India. The main objective of the mission to the moon is to map the location and abundance of lunar water. The lander and the rover will land on the near side of the Moon, in the south polar region at a latitude of about 70 south on 7 September 2019. The Pragyan rover has wheels. It will move on the lunar surface and will perform on-site chemical analysis for 14 days.

India's Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Tuesday. This was a difficult manoeuvre on its mission to the Moon. After 4 weeks of interstellar travel, the spacecraft completed its Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) as planned, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. India wants to become the fourth nation after Russia, the United States and China to land a spacecraft on the Moon. If the rest of the mission is successful, the Indian probe will land on the lunar South Pole on September 7.

The satellite had approached the Moon at a higher velocity. There was a risk that it could have bounced off and got lost in deep space. If it approached at a slow velocity, the Moon's gravity would have pulled it, causing a crash. Scientists want to better understand the origin and evolution of the Moon through detailed studies. About $140 million was spent to prepare for the probe mission, but this price is small compared to similar operations by other countries.