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Lifespan of Chandrayaan-2 orbiter increases

It will have enough fuel supply to go around the moon twice, a significant bonus from previous estimates.

, TNN|
Jul 30, 2019, 11.00 AM IST
(This story originally appeared in on Jul 30, 2019)
The orbiter on Chandrayaan-2, which Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) initially said would go around Moon for just one year, may now have a lifespan of at least two years.

At least five people associated with the mission told TOI that its life may be extended going by current status, a significant bonus from the earlier estimate.

“Chandrayaan-1 was planned for a longer life but a problem with power converters led to a curtailed lifespan, which has been corrected for Chandrayaan-2. Going by the amount of fuel that will remain after all manoeuvres, it may orbit for at least two years,” said a source.

The orbiter was packed with 1,697kg of propellant, and it has expended about 130kg for the two manoeuvres on July 24 and 26. As on Saturday, the orbiter had more than 1,500kg of propellant.
A scientist said that a better-than-textbook launch has given the agency an advantage of about 40kg of fuel. Another scientist said: “As per the plan, additional fuel was budgeted for emergencies.”

ISRO chairman K Sivan had earlier said that all manoeuvres until the separation of Vikram, the lander, will be fuelled by propellants on the orbiter. There are nine more manoeuvres before separation, during which more fuel will be used.

According to ISRO’s estimate, at the end of all Earthand lunar-bound manoeuvres, the orbiter should be left with at least 290.2kg of fuel when it’s in the 100km x 100km orbit around the moon. “This will be more than enough to go around Moon for two years,” a scientist said.

Another scientist said the only manoeuvres after reaching the desired lunar orbit, if at all, would be minor. All the scientists emphasised they could only confirm the exact number of additional days around Moon once the craft is settled into an orbit.

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