Chandrayaan-3 enters its targeted maximum orbit over the planet
Tuesday saw the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft enter its targeted highest orbit around the Earth, where it will stay for the next six days before starting its ascent to the Moon.
The spacecraft was placed in an elliptical orbit that is 236 kilometres from the Earth's surface at its closest point and 1,27,609 kilometres away at its farthest, according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The spacecraft has been in an elliptical orbit around the planet for 71,351 x 233 kilometres before this.
"ISTRAC/ISRO (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network), Bengaluru successfully executes the orbit-raising manoeuvre (Earth-bound perigee firing... The TransLunar Injection (TLI), the following fire, is scheduled for August 1, 2023, between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. IST, according to a tweet from ISRO.
The July 14th-launched Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft is scheduled to touch down gently on the Moon's surface the following month. It is now revolving in elliptical orbits that are progressively getting higher as it round the planet. It will break free of Earth orbit on August 1 and begin travelling straight towards the Moon. It will gradually descend into lower and lower lunar orbits until it is close to the Moon.
By August 23 or 24, the final drop to the Moon's surface would start from a circular orbit of around 100 miles.
Instead of going straight to the Moon, Chandrayaan-3 is making a diversion in order to save money on the overall voyage. Direct travel to the Moon, which takes around four days, would call for significantly more powerful rockets and fuel. Chandrayaan-3, on the other hand, was launched into a low-Earth orbit and has since been using gravity to gather momentum before using thrusters to accelerate and achieve a higher orbit.