Chandrayaan-1 On Course for Moon

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BANGALORE, India — India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, which was launched Oct. 22, has successfully executed an orbit-raising maneuver that puts it on course to reach the Moon by this weekend.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a press release Nov. 4 that Chandrayaan-1 has entered Lunar Transfer Trajectory after a fifth and final orbit-raising maneuver carried out early that day. During this maneuver, the spacecraft’s onboard motor was fired for about 150 seconds, raising its apogee to about 380,000 kilometers — the Moon’s average distance from Earth.

“Chandrayaan-1 will approach the Moon on November 8, 2008, and the spacecraft’s liquid engine will be fired again to insert the spacecraft into lunar orbit,” the release said. ISRO said that all systems onboard the spacecraft are performing normally.