India’s ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) entered a crucial phase on Wednesday morning, with the country’s space scientists steering the spacecraft to the red planet’s orbit.
Bangalore, September 24: Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Insertion is a resounding success, making India the first country to be successful on its maiden Mars mission. Nicknamed ‘Mangalyaan’, the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission will boost India’s five-decade-old space programme. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO’s scientists and addressed the country on the historic occasion.
After rotating the Orbiter towards Mars, the main engine was fired 24 minutes from Mars to enter the Martian orbit, which will be about 500 km from its surface and 215 million km away from the Earth in radio distance. The spacecraft will consume about 250 kg of liquid fuel with oxidiser. The five scientific instruments on board the 475-kg Orbiter will study the Martian surface and its mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas.
RSS Congratulates ISRO:
RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Dr Manmohan Vaidya said “By becoming the first country in the world to make it to Martian orbit in the very first attempt, Bharat scripted history. With the success of Mangalyaan, Bharat joins Russia, US and European Union. Mangalyaan moved a step closer to Mars and made us all proud by becoming the first nation in Asia to reach Mars. A time when the whole world has its focus on Bharat, this great achievement marks another milestone in the path of glory.”
“At this proud moment on behalf of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) we would like to extend our hearty congratulations to the scientists of ISRO for their remarkable achievement in making Mars Orbit Mission (MOM) a success in the maiden attempt and the government for its unconditional support and encouragement.”, Dr Vaidya added.
The Mars Orbiter Mission
The Mars Orbiter Mission is India’s first interplanetary mission. It was launched on November 5, 2013 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh with the powerful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) The mission was approved by the Indian government in August 2012 and was executed in 15 months at a cost of Rs. 450 crore ($74 million).
Today’s mission was to manoeuvre the spacecraft and slow its speed using the 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor engine aboard the spacecraft to help it enter Mars’ orbit. The engine had been idle for almost 300 days and was fired up today for 24 minutes to reduce its speed from 22.1 km per second to 4.4 km per second .The challenge lay in getting the probe’s trajectory right and slowing it down to enter the orbit.
Starting the liquid engine was crucial in controlling the velocity of the craft as it enters Mars’ orbit. If this attempt had not worked, ISRO would have made another attempt using eight fuel powered thrusters. (Inputs from DNA/FP)