The first interplanetary mission of India to Mars has completed one-third of its journey on 13 February 2014. The orbiter was launched for a 300-day journey by the Indian Space Research Organisation on 5 November 2013 at 2:38 p.m.
An official of ISRO stated, "The spacecraft's health is normal. The spacecraft is continuously monitored by the ground station of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), located at Byalalu, near Bangalore. Except for a 40 minute break in the Telemetry data received from the spacecraft to the ground station, data has been continuously available for all the 100 days."
The updates have confirmed that the spacecraft has followed the trajectory faithfully. If the rest 200 days are also traveled as planned, then its success will position ISRO into the elite group that includes Roscosmos, NASA and others who have reached the Red Planet.
Mars Mission undergoes successful first course-correction
India's first mission to the Red Planet, Mangalyaan, successfully finished its first mid-course correction on 11 December 2013 at 6:30 in the morning. "The mid-course correction was done some 2.9 million km away from Earth. The spacecraft was first re-oriented and then its smaller rockets fired to make the operation successful," an official of the ISRO said.
Mangalyaan, the spacecraft, is now in uncharted territory, thus becoming the first Indian spacecraft to travel so far. The ISRO accomplished this Rs. 450-crore operation successfully when the spacecraft was at a distance of 2.9 million km from Earth.
September 2014 is the projected date for the spacecraft to reach Mars, bestowing on India the honour to become the first country in Asia to reach Mars on its first attempt. Most of the Mars missions have been a failure in the past by different countries.
India's Mission Mars: A giant technology leap
- India's ambitious mission to Mars (Mangalyaan) takes off at 2.38 pm.
- The rocket PSLV C 25 was blasted from the ISRO space center at Sriharikota.
- The satellite weighs 1,350 kg approximately and 500 scientists worked on the project at Bengaluru.
- If successful, this will make India the fourth nation in the world to send a mission to Mars.
- India will also be the first Asian nation to achieve this feat.
India's ambitious Rs. 450-crore, robotic Mars Orbitor Mission (MOM) carrying satellite Mangalyaan, and scheduled to take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota, was launched at 2.38 pm on November 5th. If the Indian satellite successfully reaches the planet of Mars, this would indeed be a landmark achievement for both India and its iconic space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The mission primarily constitutes the launching of India's unmanned, 300-day, first inter-planetary satellite to Mars. ISRO has already revealed its preparedness with a rehearsal held on October 31 for a smooth launch.
India's daring venture
This would make India the fourth nation in the world to do so, after the US - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European consortium - European Space Agency (ESA), and Russia - Roscosmos led their respective missions. Till date only 21 of the 51 missions by many countries have been successful. Russia's last mission carrying a Chinese satellite failed in November, 2011. Thus a successful mission would also make India, the first Asian nation to achieve this feat.
The near 45-meter rocket PSLV C 25 carrying the 1,350 kg satellite was mounted on the pedestal and kept in a state of readiness (in a record 15 months) to blast off. The movements will be tracked by vehicle tracking stations at Port Blair and Bylalu near Bengaluru, and an outstation one at Brunei. The terminals-on-sea lodged aboard the ships SCI Nalanda and SCI Yamuna, belonging to the Shipping Corporation of India will help track and capture the precise moments of satellite injection into the earth's orbit. This process will take the rocket approximately 40 minutes.
Thereafter, the satellite is scheduled to orbit the earth for 20-25 days before exiting it for Mars on a nine-month journey. It is expected to be inserted into Mars' orbit in September 2014. Five important scientific instruments such as photometer, methane sensor, mars composition analyser, etc., are in place in the payload along with the satellite to help navigate, monitor and capture information on Mars' temperature, colour composition, water loss, methane composition, mapping the Mars' surface, etc.
As per ISRO, the main objective of the MOM is technological in nature - that is, to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of the interplanetary mission. NASA is coordinating and providing support for its communication requirements.
This satellite would thus become a part of the bouquet of India's operational satellites which account for the largest network globally. Already, India's space programme is nearly 50 years old. About 500 - 1000 scientists are working and checking out the overall specifics of the mission.
Earlier, India came in for flak too when it announced its decision to go ahead with the Mars mission in August 2012. Things such as "wasteful expenditure", "instead, money could be utilized to build toilets", etc., were being said. However, after its successful Chandrayaan mission, India has profitably mastered the art of putting up satellites, as was seen last when it sent 10 satellites belonging to different countries together in one go. This was hence an opportune time to showcase India's development in the field of space technology.
The feat would indeed make India a powerful space power to reckon with.
Last Updated on : February 13, 2014