The Indian craft, Chandrayaan-2, has successfully left Earth’s atmosphere on Wednesday morning. To start its mission and be propelled into space, the craft performed a procedure called the trans lunar injection or TLI.
The TLI maneuver involves firing the liquid engine on the craft from a duration of 1.203 seconds. This ensures that the rocket is catapulted in the direction of the moon through the void of space.
The craft is set on its journey to perform a lunar orbit and will reach its objective in 22 days.
Plotting a course to the Moon
Before the TLI maneuver could be performed, the craft needed to perform 5 other maneuvers to escape its closest orbiting point around Earth and point it in the right direction. The fith and final of these maneuvers saw the engine firing for a duration of 1/041 seconds.
This meant that the craft had exhausted about 30 percent of its total fuel supply. 3.850 kg of fuel was loaded into the rocket.
Descending to the surface
When Chandrayaan-2 will reach the Moon, it will place itself into a stable orbit, 100 km from the lunar surface. After reaching a successful orbit of 100 km, the craft will then perform another series of maneuvers in which a lower orbit will be set. This new orbit will take place gradually and will stop at 30 km from the lunar surface.
The most difficult part of the mission will be the final descent that will see the craft touchdown on the surface. The final 30 km will be completed in 15 minutes time. This will see many people in the control room sweat in anticipation as nerves will be strung.
This mission will mark India as the fourth country to successfully perform a lunar landing mission. Chandrayaan-2 is set on a 1-year assignment in which it will collect data on the properties of the Moon. The data is meant to provide a summary of future exploitation of lunar resources.