New Delhi, 18 August
A day after separating from the thrust module, the Chandrayaan-3 lander consisting of Vikram (the lander) and Pragyan (the rover) performed its first “deboost” maneuver on Friday, getting closer to the lunar surface ahead of the expected August 23 landing.
“The health of the lander module (LM) is normal. The LM successfully performed a depolarization procedure that reduced its orbit to 113 km x 157 km. The second depolarization is scheduled for August 20, 2023, approximately 0200 (IST),” the ISRO said on its website. X (formerly Twitter). On Thursday, Vikram, with Pragyan inside, breaks loose from the thrust unit that is pushing him. At the time of separation, the orbit of the spacecraft was 153 km x 163 km.
By August 23, Vikram will have to reach Hazard (the closest point to the Moon) by about 30 kilometers, where the final landing of the 1,750-kilogram lander will be attempted with the detonators acting as brakes to slow its descent.
After achieving a soft landing on the lunar surface, the lander (26 kg) inside the lander exits through a ramp and explores the area around it. The rover has two payloads. While one X-ray spectrometer (Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer, or APXS) studies the chemical and mineral composition of the lunar surface, a second payload (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer, or LIBS) will study the elemental composition of lunar soil (Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca, Ti, Fe) and rocks around the landing site.