Chandrayaan-2 orbiter
Chandrayaan-2 orbiter ISRO

India's moon mission placed in lunar orbit

India's moon mission Chandrayaan-2 has been successfully placed in lunar orbit following a tricky manoeuvre, officials at Indian Space Research Organisation say.

The $A209 million mission aims to map the surface of the lunar south pole, examine its composition and search for water in 14 days of experiments.

The manoeuvre on Tuesday lasted about 29 minutes, the Indian space agency said in a statement.

"The Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuvre precisely injected the Chandrayaan-2 in a defined orbit in a perfect way," ISRO chief K Sivan told reporters at the agency's headquarters in Bangalore.

This was among the trickiest of the manoeuvres of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, ISRO officials told broadcaster NDTV, explaining that spacecraft's approach velocity and altitude had to be precise and even a small error could have killed the mission.

The 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2, which covered a distance of 384,000 kilometres from Earth to the Moon, comprises an orbiter, lander and rover.

The lander and rover are expected to touch down on an unexplored part of the south pole region on September 7, the ISRO said.

Chandrayaan-2 - which means "moon vehicle" in Sanskrit - was launched from the Sriharikota spaceport in southern India on July 22 on a locally-built rocket.

If India succeeds, 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 and orbited the moon but did not land.



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