India's dream of landing on the moon is approaching reality as the Chandrayan-2 spacecraft split into two on Monday, with one half set to land on the moon later this week.
First launched in July, the Chandrayan-2 spacecraft has split into two as expected. "Lander Vikram successfully separated from Chandrayan-2 orbiter at 1315 IST today," Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) officials said in a statement on Monday.
The arbiter will circle the poles of the moon for about a year, and the Vikram landing is expected to land on September 7 between 1:30 to 2:30 GMT if everything goes according to plan. The rover is then expected to leave the Vikram landing between 5:30 and 6:30. Vikram is overseen by the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru.
"All Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter and Lander Systems are Sound," ISRO Continued.
The Chandrayan-2 aircraft entered moon orbit last month after launching from Sriharikota in southern India on July 22. The mission is underway, although a technical problem delays the launch by one week.
The mission is next
The Vikram Landing Area is located on a plateau between two craters and will be farthest south of any moon landing to date. Vikram contains equipment for three experiments: one to study the moon's ionosphere, one to study the temperature of the upper 4 inches of the moon's surface, and the other to study the moon's shakes.
The Rover, known as the Pragyan, has tools to help identify items near the landing site.
If Chandrayaan-2 is successful, it adds to the space heritage of the Indians. Indian hardware reached the moon before, with Chandrayan-1
So far, only the US, Russia and China have successfully landed on the moon.