While circling the Moon, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft narrowly missed colliding with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). On September 18, 2021, an orbit change was necessary to avoid a possible collision with the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) over the lunar pole. According to predictions, on September 20, both spacecraft were expected to reach within a few hundred meters of each other.
According to previous predictions by ISRO and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), these two spacecraft would have a radial separation of fewer than 100 meters. On October 20, 2021, at 11.15 IST, the closest approach distance would be 3 kilometers.
Avoidance maneuver by Chandrayaan-2
The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter had to be shifted to a safer distance after a mutual agreement between NASA and ISRO. On October 18, the movie was completed, and it is expected that these two spacecraft would be separated shortly.
NASA’s LRO will not be near Chandrayaan-2 following its post-maneuver data.
To ensure a large enough radial separation between the two spacecraft at their next near encounter, the maneuver was set for October 18, 2021. On October 18, the CAM was supposedly performed at 14:52 UTC (8:22 p.m. IST). Reconfirmation was made that there will be no further close encounters between CH2O and LRO in the foreseeable future with the attained orbit,” claimed ISRA.
In Earth orbit, collision avoidance maneuvers are typical for satellites to reduce the chance of collision with other space objects, including trash and functioning spacecraft.” Close approach monitoring (CAM) is a routine procedure for ISRO’s operational satellites when the chance of a collision is considered to be high. However, this was the first time an ISRO space exploration mission had to perform an evasive maneuver due to such close conjunction, according to ISRO.
Initially, the Chandrayaan-2 project aimed to put the Vikram lander and the Pragyan Lunar Rover on the Moon. A software error caused the lander to crash, but the orbiter is still operational. Chandrayaan 3 is expected to land on the Moon in 2022.