India’s third moon mission spacecraft, Chandrayaan-3, is now one step closer to a lunar landing, as it successfully entered the moon’s orbit on August 5. The Indian space agency released the first images of the moon taken by the spacecraft on Saturday. The images show craters on the lunar surface getting larger and larger as the spacecraft draws closer.
In a tweet on X, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that a retro-burning at the Perilune was commanded from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX), at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru. ISRO reported that all systems are healthy.
The development marks the completion of a critical manoeuvre, Lunar Orbit Injection. It would now fire its onboard engines to slow itself down and get captured into lunar orbit, and begin to circle the moon in a highly-elliptical orbit.
On July 31, the spacecraft performed Trans-Lunar injection (TLI), a long-duration firing of its engines, beginning a journey that pushed it out of Earth’s gravitational influence and towards lunar gravitational influence. During the first weeks of August, it is set to complete five to six orbits around the moon before a precise landing site on the moon’s South Pole area is determined.