Landing and take-off are two sides of the same coin, and a good vehicle must be capable of both. Vikram lander has proved to be equal to the task. 

On August 23, it demonstrated its ability to gently land on the lunar surface. But, can it take off from there? If it could, then its successor could be equipped to return to the earth, perhaps with rock and soil samples. 

On Monday, ISRO fired thrusters on the lander, which lifted the spacecraft  off the lunar surface to a height of about 40 cm, it was then moved horizontally for about a foot. This may be a small step for the lander, but it is a notable achievement for ISRO. The onboard instruments – ChaSTE, RAMBHA-LP and ILSA — performed experiments at the new location, and sent the data back to Earth. 

Also read: Chandrayaan-3 findings show moon is habitable

ISRO put out a tweet on X (formerly, Twitter) saying that the lander was set to go into sleep mode at 8 am today (Tuesday). All the instruments on-board have been switched off, but the receivers have been kept ‘on’.  

Also read: Vikram lander nourishes science by measuring moon’s subsoil temperature 

“Vikram will fall asleep next to Pragyan (rover) once the solar power is depleted and the battery is drained. Hoping for their awakening around September 22,” ISRO said. 

Aditya L-1 nudged further towards Lagrange-1 point

Meanwhile, ISRO also said that the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bengaluru, had performed the second earth-bound manoeuvre to nudge the Aditya L-1 spacecraft further towards the Lagrange-1 point.  

The spacecraft is now in a new elliptical orbit of 282 km (perigee or nearest to earth) and 40,220 km (apogee or farthest to earth). The next manoeuvre will be done on September 10. 

Pushed gently into larger and larger orbits around the earth, the spacecraft will near the Sun and, at some point, will leave the earth’s orbit and then gradually be inserted into the Lagrange-1 point in about four months.