The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft came closer to the lunar surface on Wednesday after undergoing another orbit reduction maneuver, the Indian Space Research Organization said. India’s ambitious third lunar mission spacecraft, Chandrayaan-3, entered lunar orbit on August 5 after launching on July 14.

ISRO tweeted: “Closer to lunar surface. Chandrayaan-3’s orbit narrowed to 174km x 1437km after a maneuver today.”

ISRO said the next operation is scheduled for August 14 between 11.30am and 12.30pm.

ISRO carried out a similar orbit reduction operation on Sunday.

As the mission progresses, ISRO is conducting a series of maneuvers to gradually shrink Chandrayaan-3’s orbit and position it over the moon’s poles.

According to ISRO sources, there will also be two orbital reduction maneuvers to bring the spacecraft closer to the moon.

These maneuvers will take place from August 14 to 16 to reach a 100-kilometer orbit, after which the landing module, consisting of the lander and rover, will detach from the propulsion module.

After that, the lander is expected to undergo a “deceleration” (deceleration process) and make a soft landing in the South Pole region of the Moon on August 23.

In the three weeks since its launch on July 14, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has lifted the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into an orbit farther and farther away from Earth.

Then, on Aug. 1, through a crucial maneuver — a slingshot maneuver — the spacecraft successfully flew from Earth orbit to the Moon. Following this cross-moon injection, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft detached from Earth orbit and began following a path that would bring it near the Moon.

Chandrayaan-3 is the follow-up mission to Chandrayaan-2, designed to demonstrate the end-to-end capability of safely landing and roaming on the lunar surface. It consists of a lander and rover configuration.

It includes an indigenous propulsion module, lander module and a rover, and its purpose is to develop and demonstrate new technologies needed for interplanetary missions.

The propulsion module will carry the lander and rover configuration up to 100 km lunar orbit. The propulsion module has the Spectropolarimetry of a Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload to study spectroscopic and polarimetric measurements of Earth from lunar orbit.

The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are to demonstrate a safe soft landing on the lunar surface, demonstrate a lunar rover, and conduct in situ scientific experiments.

The lander will be able to soft-land at designated lunar sites and deploy the rover to conduct in-situ chemical analyzes of the lunar surface as it moves.

Landers and rovers have science payloads to conduct experiments on the lunar surface.

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