Mars Orbiter Misson

ISRO’s First Interplanetary Mission

At the end of the Festival of lights, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) gave a pleasant gift to the nation with the successful launch of its much awaited ‘Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)’ on 5th November 2013 from Satish Dhavan Space Centre at Sriharikota.  After 45 minutes of the launch, ISRO chairman, K.Radhakrishnan announced that the first phase of Mars Orbiter Mission is a success.

PSLV-C25 carrying Mars Orbiter (Source : ISRO)

Mangalyan’ (Mars Orbiter Mission), ISRO’s most ambitious mission was launched from Sriharikota on 5th Nov.2013 at 2.37 in the afternoon. Before this mission, ISRO launched many artificial satellites using indigenous technology. In 2008, ISRO successfully executed India’s first unmanned lunar proble, Chandrayan-1 launched using its own launch vehicle and from its own space center. However, ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission is different from all its previous ones in many respects. Travelling time for Mangalyan is the longest compared to all the past missions. Mangalyan will take about 300 days to reach Mars.

In the third week of September next Year Mangalyan shall enter into the orbit around Mars.  Till 30th November 2013 Mangalyan will be revolving around earth  in highly elliptical orbits. During this period ISRO will carry out about 6 to 7 orbit raising maneuvers which will take Mangalyan further and further away from the earth.  On 1st December 2013 , the Indian Space ship will embark on its voyage to the red planet.

Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft being prepared for a prelaunch test at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Srihairkota (Photo courtesy : ISRO)

 Each new day in the Mars Mission shall pose a new challenge for ISRO scientists. They have to keep Mangalyan on the track and keep all its equipment working from a distance of millions of  kilometers. A huge test of the Mars Mission will come after 300 days when the Mars Orbiter will be ready to enter into its designated orbit around mars. Quite a few of the missions in 60’s launched by Russia and U.S.have failed to enter into their orbits around mars. Insertion of Mangalyan in the martian orbit is a crucial task.

ISRO has planned a  few scientific objectives in this mission. The most significant objective is to detect the presence of  Methane on the mars using Methane Sensor. Methane Sensor which is designed by ISRO on board Mangalyan will study martian atmosphere to find traces of methane. Methane is believed to be released from the biological processes of the living beings.

The other Payloads onboard Mangalyan will study the martian atmosphere. A high resolution Color Camera will take color photographs of Mars.  ISRO’s gound stations and Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalorewill be proving support to this mission. Once Mangalyan reaches Mars, a signal from ground based stations will take about 20 minutes to reach Mangalyan. This would test ISRO’s infrastructure in such long distance missions.

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