Everything you need to know about Vikram, Chandrayaan 2's lander, as it lands on the Moon

Chandrayaan 2 lander Vikram will attempt to soft land on the lunar surfaceISRO

  • Chandrayaan 2 will be attempt to soft land on the Moon between 1:30am and 2:30am tonight.
  • The entire process will take 15 minutes.
  • The lander, Vikram, will be shutting down its engines — one by one — as it gets closer to the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan 2, India's second mission to Moon, is all set to land tonight between 1:30 am and 2:30 am.

Vikram, Chandrayaan 2's lander, is on its way to the Moon's South Pole to attempt a soft landing. This is the most difficult part of the Chandrayaan 2 mission.

Of all the missions that have attempted to soft land on the Moon, only 37% have been successful.

Former Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman, G. Madhavan Nair, stated that will be ISRO's ‘most complex' mission ever. The current ISRO Chairman K Sivan also believes that Chandrayaan's 2 soft landing on the Moon's South Pole will be the ‘most terrifying' 15 minutes for the onground team.

Here's everything you need to know about Vikram landing on the Moon:


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​Vikram will be landing between Mazinus C and Simpelius N craters near the Moon’s South Pole

​Vikram will be landing between Mazinus C and Simpelius N craters near the Moon’s South Pole

The lander is aiming for the high plan between the two craters about 70 degrees South on the Moon.

​Vikram will start its descent 100 kilometers from the lunar surface and 587 kilometers from the landing site

​Vikram will start its descent 100 kilometers from the lunar surface and 587 kilometers from the landing site

This is the will the first phase of Chandrayaan 2’s soft landing on the Moon. It is called the rough breaking phase. Vikram will have all four of its 800N liquid thruster engines on.

​The orbiter will be scanning the landing site and tracking Vikram from the Moon’s orbit

​The orbiter will be scanning the landing site and tracking Vikram from the Moon’s orbit

The orbiter will be coordinating with the lander’s Laser Altimeter (LASA), which can detect the topography of the lunar surface.

​Vikram’s final descent will begin when it’s 30 kilometers from the surface

​Vikram’s final descent will begin when it’s 30 kilometers from the surface

Vikram will switch over the absolute navigation phase. During this time it will also switch on its Kurtz above (KA) Band Altimeter 1,the Lander Position Detection Camera (LPDC) and LASA to find a clean space to set down.

​Vikram will shut down half of its engines

​Vikram will shut down half of its engines

At around 400 meters from the lunar surface, Vikram will shut down two of its engines in the hovering stage. It will also switch to LASA, KA Band Altimeter 2, and the Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera (LHVC).

​Switching over to the central engine

​Switching over to the central engine

If all goes well, the ISRO will land Vikram on its primary landing site. It will attempt a parabolic descent at a height of 10 meters with only its central engine on. If the primary landing site is deemed unfit, ISRO has a backup site located around 1.6 kilometers away.

Touchdown on the Moon

Touchdown on the Moon

From 10 meters, it will take Vikram 13 seconds to touchdown.

It’s not over yet

It’s not over yet

Once Vikram successfully lands on the moon, it will deploy its payload — CHASTE, RAMBHA and ILSA. In another four hours, around 5:30am, it will deploy Chandrayaan 2’s rover — Pragyaan — to roam free on the Moon’s South Pole.

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