India’s lunar mission enters the Moon’s orbit ahead of landing attempt

The Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander and rover before launch | Image: Indian Space Research Organization

India’s mission to the Moon, known as Chandrayaan-2, successfully entered lunar orbit on August 20th, ahead of the country’s first attempt to land a vehicle on the lunar surface. The maneuver was a critical move for the mission that could enable India to become the fourth country to put a spacecraft intact on the Moon.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission began with its launch on July 22nd on top of an Indian GSLV MK-III rocket. The payload consists of three spacecraft: a vehicle designed to orbit around the Moon, a lander called Vikram, and a rover called Pragyan. While the orbiter will stay in space, the lander is meant to carry the rover down to the lunar surface for an up-close look at the Moon.

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