India's Moon spacecraft performs second orbit-raising manoeuvre

Chandrayaan-2, which means moon vehicle in Sanskrit, was launched from the Sriharikota spaceport in southern India on July 22 on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III rocket. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (DPA) - India's Moon-bound spacecraft Chandrayaan-2 successfully completed its second orbit-raising manoeuvre on Friday (July 26), the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said.

The task was performed successfully as planned at 1.08am, a statement from Isro said.

"All spacecraft parameters are normal."

The next orbit-raising manoeuvre is scheduled for July 29. The spacecraft is expected to reach the Moon by Aug 20.

Chandrayaan-2, which means moon vehicle in Sanskrit, was launched from the Sriharikota spaceport in southern India on Monday on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III rocket.

Comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, it is expected to touch down on the unexplored lunar south pole on Sept 7, according to Isro.

Isro chairman K. Sivan has described the 15-minute final landing manoeuvre as the most complex mission ever undertaken by the agency.

If India succeeds in the mission, it will become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the United States, the former Soviet Union and China.

Chandrayaan-2 is the country's second lunar mission. The first mission Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008, orbited the Moon, but did not land.

The US$142 million (S$194 million) mission aims to map the lunar surface, examine its composition and search for water in 14 days of experiments.

Chandrayaan-1 had conclusively discovered traces of water on the Moon.

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