Wed 28 May, 2014 05:05 am
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for "Mars-Craft"), is a Mars orbiter launched into Earth orbit on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is expected to enter orbit around Mars on 24 September 2014.
The mission aims to help develop the technologies required for design, planning, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission. The scientific Objective is the exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere.
The craft lifted-off from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 at 09:08 UTC (2:38 PM IST) on 5 November 2013. The launch window was approximately 20 days long and started on 28 October 2013. The MOM probe spent about a month in Earth orbit, where it made a series of seven altitude-raising orbital manoeuvres before trans-Mars injection on 30 November 2013 (UTC).
Travelling at a speed of 1.55 km per second, Mangalyan crossed the half way point of its trip on 9 April 2014.
It is India's first interplanetary mission and, if successful, ISRO would become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and European Space Agency.
The spacecraft is being currently monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu.
The design is largely based on Chandrayaan-1, India's first unmanned lunar probe. It was launched by ISRO in October 2008, and operated until August 2009.
The mission was put together on rather short notice – being approved in August 2012 with just 15 months to go until the Interplanetary Launch window that comes once every 26 months. The development of the mission was initiated one year earlier. Mangalyaan was approved for a total project cost of $69 million. In 2012, the individual components of the orbiter began assembly before the spacecraft came together in March 2013.
Stating that many more missions were under different stages, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said another major project in coming months would be the experimental mission of GSLV-MARK 3 with crew module for country's human space flight mission.