India's second moon exploration mission Chandrayaan 2 has beamed back the first images taken from the moon's orbit, the Indian Space Research Organisation announced in a tweet Thursday. The image was captured by Chandrayaan 2 at an altitude of 2650 kilometres from the moon's surface on 21 August. Two of the most visible features in the frame are the Mare Orientale basin and the Apollo craters.
The image was captured by the LI-4 camera on Chandrayaan 2 at 7.03 pm IST, as per ISRO's website. "Take a look at the first Moon image captured by #Chandrayaan2 #VikramLander taken at a height of about 2650 km from Lunar surface on August 21, 2019," ISRO's tweet read.
" ISRO (@isro) August 22, 2019
First photo of the moon from Chandrayaan 2 shows the Mare Orientale basin in the top right-of-centre, and the Apollo crater in the centre-right of the image. Image: ISRO
Chandrayaan 2 successfully completed its first orbital manoeuvre in lunar orbit on 20 August. This critical manoeuvre is one of four similar "retrofirings" of the onboard propulsion system that are meant to lower the spacecraft's orbit (thereby also reducing its speed) till the spacecraft is in a 100 x 100 km (nearest x farthest altitude in orbit) circular orbit around the moon. Currently, it is in an elliptical orbit of 114 x 4,412 km (nearest x farthest altitude in orbit).
Chandrayaan 2 entered lunar orbit on Tuesday, 20 August after a roughly 6-week sojourn form liftoff. Between the current stage and the spacecraft attaining its 100 km-orbit (slated for 1 September), the spacecraft's three components will be travelling together. After a few circular orbits at 100 x 100 km, the Vikram lander is expected to separate from the orbiter, on 2 September.