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Chandrayaan-2 begins orbiting Moon

WT24 Desk

India’s second lunar module has begun orbiting the Moon, nearly a month after blasting off, officials have confirmed, Agencies report.

The manoeuvre to put the module into the lunar orbit was completed at 09:02 local time (04:32 GMT) on Tuesday.

Chandrayaan-2 was launched from the Sriharikota space station on 22 July, a week after the scheduled blast-off was halted due to a technical snag.

India hopes the $145m (£116m) mission will be the first to land on the Moon’s south pole.

Last month’s launch was the beginning of a 384,000km (239,000-mile) journey. Scientists hope the lander will touch down on the Moon on 6 or 7 September as planned.

India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, was launched in 2008 but it did not land on the lunar surface. However it carried out the first and most detailed search for water on the Moon using radars.

Chandrayaan-2 (Moon vehicle 2) will try to land near the little-explored south pole of the Moon.

The mission will focus on the lunar surface, searching for water and minerals and measuring moonquakes, among other things.

India used its most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), in this mission. It weighed 640 tonnes (almost 1.5 times the weight of a fully-loaded 747 jumbo jet) and, at 44 metres (144ft), was as high as a 14-storey building.

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