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After successful hop test on Moon, Chandrayaan-3 payloads on sleep mode; next awakening on Sept 22

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Bengaluru: After a successful hop test where the Vikram lander was elevated and soft landed again on the Moon, ISRO on Monday said it has exceeded its objectives and now its payloads have been switched off.

The hop test will help scientists in future Moon missions where samples could be brought back to Earth and more importantly help the human missions being planned, ISRO added.

The space agency said Vikram Lander has been set into sleep mode around 8 am Monday. Payloads have been switched off while lander receivers are kept on.

Before going into sleep mode, in-situ experiments by ChaSTE, RAMBHA-LP and ILSA payloads on lander were performed at the new location. The data collected was received at the Earth.

ISRO sources said that the payloads and ramp of the lander were folded back before performing the hop test.

Further, it was elevated by firing its engines and making it hop once on the lunar surface.

“On command it (Vikram lander) fired the engines, elevated itself by about 40 cm as expected and landed safely at a distance of 30 to 40 cm away,” ISRO said in an update on ‘X’.

“Vikram soft-landed on the moon, again! Vikram Lander exceeded its mission objectives,” ISRO added.

After the successful hop test, Vikram and Pragyan payloads are now in a power-off mode until the south pole of the lunar surface is back in the range of the Sun again.

ISRO said that Vikram will fall asleep next to Pragyan once the solar power is depleted and the battery is drained. The space agency said it was “hoping for their (Vikram and Pragyan’s) awakening, around September 22, 2023.”

Scientists at ISRO said that after the Chandrayaan 3 mission landed on the lunar surface on August 23, Vikram and Pragyan performed all their planned experiments within one lunar day or approximately 14 earth days and finally after a hop test, have been put on sleep mode.

The temperatures could go up to -200 degree Celsius on the lunar surface soon. The payloads may not be able to withstand extreme temperatures while they are still powered on.

Therefore, the payloads have been switched off and will be powered on only after conditions are conducive for them to work again, an ISRO source said.

Elaborating on the experiment, ISRO’s update said the importance of the experiment is to help in future missions where samples from the Moon’s surface can be brought back to earth for further analysis.

The hop test can also help in the human missions as it confirmed ISRO’s ability to ‘kick-start’ the lander once again days after touching down on the lunar surface.

ISRO scientists said that after the Vikram lander carrying the Pragyan rover landed on the Moon, various experiments were conducted and the hop test was the latest.

It was not announced earlier but it is one of the tests that helped the Chandrayaan mission exceed its objectives, ISRO said.

The agency also released images of the lunar surface taken before and after the hop test.

When the payloads are switched on after 18 days, ISRO will be undertaking the same experiments it had conducted in the past few days on the lunar surface. This cycle will be repeated every 10 to 14 days until the pay loads are able to function on the Moon, an ISRO source added.

According to a senior ISRO scientist, the hop test showed that even after 14 days, its engines can be fired again.

 

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