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Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on Sunday inched closer to its soft landing on the moon as it successfully underwent a planned orbit reduction manoeuvre lowering its lunar orbit. The health of India's third lunar mission craft is normal, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

Chandrayaan-3 tracker: What is the spacecraft's current orbit?

"The retrofitting of engines brought it closer to the Moon's surface, now to 170 km x 4,313 km. The next operation to further reduce the orbit is scheduled for August 9, between 13:00 and 14:00 hours IST," the ISRO posted on social media platform X on Sunday.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission achieved a crucial milestone with the successful completion of the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) on Saturday placing it in the moon orbit and leaving Earth's gravity.

This is the third time in succession that ISRO has successfully inserted its spacecraft into the lunar orbit, apart from doing so into the Martian orbit. Meanwhile, the space agency on Sunday put out the first images of the moon as captured by Chandrayaan-3, India's third lunar mission.

Chandrayaan-3 mission milestones: A timeline

July 6: ISRO announced the launch date for Mission Chandrayaan-3, set for July 14, from Sriharikota's second launch pad.

July 7: Successful completion of vehicle electrical tests.

July 11: A comprehensive 'Launch Rehearsal' spanning 24 hours concluded, simulating the entire launch process.

July 14: LVM3 M4 vehicle triumphantly launched Chandrayaan-3 into its designated orbit.

July 15: The first orbit-raising manoeuvre, Earthbound firing-1, was executed successfully at ISTRAC/ISRO, Bengaluru. The spacecraft reached a 41762 km x 173 km orbit.

July 17: Accomplishment of the second orbit-raising manoeuvre resulted in the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft orbiting at 41603 km x 226 km.

July 22: Successful completion of the fourth orbit-raising manoeuvre, Earth-bound perigee firing, establishing the spacecraft in a 71351 km x 233 km orbit.

July 25: Implementation of another successful orbit-raising manoeuvre.

August 1: Chandrayaan-3 achieved a significant milestone by being inserted into the translunar orbit, reaching an orbit of 288 km x 369328 km.

August 5: Chandrayaan-3 accomplished a major triumph by achieving successful insertion into the lunar orbit, attaining the intended orbit of 164 km x 18074 km.

August 6: The spacecraft orbit is lowered to 170 km x 4,313 km around the moon

What's ahead in Chandrayaan-3 mission?

As the mission advances, a sequence of manoeuvres is planned to gradually position Chandrayaan-3 in a 100km lunar orbit and align it with the lunar poles.

In the next ten days, a precise landing site near the moon's south pole will be determined. Subsequently, the propulsion module will detach from the lander while in orbit. Following this, the lander will descend from orbit and make a soft landing attempt.

When is the Chandrayaan-3 landing date?

Afterwards, a series of intricate braking manoeuvres will be executed to facilitate a soft landing in the Moon's South Polar region on August 23, at 5:47pm.

ISRO is closely monitoring the lunar landing schedule, considering factors like the moon's sunrise. If needed, the landing may be rescheduled for September. With each milestone achieved, India's Chandrayaan-3 mission edges closer to an unprecedented lunar landing accomplishment.


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