The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today announced that the Chandrayaan-3 has completed its orbits around the Earth and is now heading towards the Moon.
A key manoeuvre to slingshot the spacecraft towards the Moon from Earth's orbit was carried out in the early hours of Tuesday. This move put Chandrayaan-3 in a translunar orbit, moving it out of the Earth's orbit and closing in on the Moon's orbit. In around five days from now, the spacecraft will reach the Moon's orbit.
The slingshot was performed by ISRO scientists who, from the space centre here, fired Chandrayaan-3's onboard thrusters when the spacecraft was at the closest point to Earth (perigee).
"A successful perigee-firing performed at ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network). ISRO has injected the spacecraft into the translunar orbit," it said.
"Chandrayaan-3 completes its orbits around the Earth and heads towards the moon," the national space agency said, adding, "Next stop: the moon."
"As it arrives at the moon, the Lunar-Orbit Insertion is planned for August 5, 2023," ISRO said.
An ISRO official told PTI that following the translunar injection, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft escaped from orbiting the Earth and is now following a path that would take it to the vicinity of the Moon. The ISRO had said it would attempt soft-landing on the lunar surface on August 23.
The spacecraft's orbit was progressively increased five times after the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon was launched on July 14.