Chandrayaan-2 was launched from the Sriharikota space station on 22 July 2019, and now almost after a month, it has finally started orbiting the moon.
The launch was the beginning of a 384,000km (239,000-mile) journey. Scientists hope that it will land on the Moon on 6th or 7th September, as planned.
India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, was launched in 2008 but it did not land on the Moon. But it did carry out the first and most detailed search for water on the Moon using radars.
Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to land near the unexplored south pole of the Moon.
This mission focuses on the Moon, to find useful information about water, minerals and measuring moon-quakes.
India used its most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), for this mission. It weighed 640 tonnes (almost 1.5 times the weight of a fully-loaded 747 jumbo jet) and, at 44 meters (144ft), and was as high as a 14-story building.
The journey is assumed to be a little more than six weeks, which is a lot longer than the four days the Apollo 11 mission took, 50 years ago, to land humans on the Moon for the first time.
To save fuel, ISRO has chosen an indirect route to benefit off of the Earth's gravity, which will help fasten the satellite towards the Moon. of the Earth's
"There will be 15 terrifying minutes for scientists once the lander is released and is hurled towards the south pole of the Moon," ISRO chief K Sivan said before the first launch attempt.
He explained that those who are controlling the spacecraft until it lands the moon will have to sit back and pray because the landing is automated. So, the actual landing would happen only if all the systems performed as they should. Otherwise, the satellite could crash into the surface of the Moon.
On the day of landing, the propulsion system of Chandrayaan 2 will break the velocity of the lander in a controlled way, where the engines will be shut off before the spacecraft touches the moon's surface.
In the final seconds before landing, the Vikram lander will be assisted only by the moon's gravity and not the spacecraft's thrusters. This is to prevent a plume of lunar dust from covering the lander and its solar panels.
From the 30 km orbit to the surface, the lander will use a 15-minute window. This 15-minute intermission is something ISRO has never undertaken before, this is one of the most complex missions it has ever undertaken.
For the landing site, ISRO has picked a high plain between the two craters Manzinus C and Simpelius N near the Moon's South Pole. The spacecraft's onboard Navigation, Guidance and Control (NGC) system and its propulsion system will need to work in perfect harmony for the autonomous landing to be a success.
We hope the journey to the south pole of the Moon is successful, as it is one of India's most important space mission ever. So far the schedule seems to be following through as predicted, and we can count on it to do the same for the spectacular, autonomous landing.