In case you missed all the excitement, watch the event unfold in the morning today brought to you by our own Doordarshan.
India’s Mars Orbiter Spacecraft successfully entered into an orbit around planet Mars today morning (September 24, 2014) by firing its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) along with eight smaller liquid engines. This Liquid Engines firing operation which began at 07:17:32 Hrs IST lasted for 1388.67 seconds which changed the velocity of the spacecraft by 1099 metre/sec. With this operation, the spacecraft entered into an elliptical orbit around Mars. Honourable Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi, was present at ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore to witness this important event. Other dignitaries who were present at ISTRAC include His Excellency Governor of Karnataka, Mr Vajubhai R Vala, Hon’ble Minister of Railways, Mr D V Sadananda Gowda, Hon’ble Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr Ananth Kumar, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr Siddaramaiah, Hon’ble Minister of State (Space), Dr Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mr G M Siddeswara, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Mr Prahlad V Joshi, Hon’ble Minister of Transport, Government of Karnataka, Mr Ramalinga Reddy and Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Government of Karnataka, Mr Muniraju S. Prof U R Rao, former chairman, ISRO and Prof Yash Pal, former director, Space Applications Centre, were also present.
The events related to Mars Orbit Insertion progressed satisfactorily and the spacecraft performance was normal. The Spacecraft is now circling Mars in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is at 421.7 km and farthest point (apoapsis) at 76,993.6 km. The inclination of orbit with respect to the equatorial plane of Mars is 150 degree, as intended. In this orbit, the spacecraft takes 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds to go round the Mars once.
Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was launched on-board India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV on November 05, 2013 into a parking orbit around the Earth. On December 01, 2013, following Trans Mars Injection (TMI) manoeuvre, the spacecraft escaped from orbiting the earth and followed a path that would allow it to encounter Mars on September 24, 2014.
With today’s successful Mars Orbit Insertion operation, ISRO has become the fourth space agency to successfully send a spacecraft to Mars orbit. In the coming weeks, the spacecraft will be thoroughly tested in the Mars orbit and the systematic observation of that planet using its five scientific instruments would begin.
Many of you may be wondering how the MOM and MAVEN missions to Mars are different. If you had questions like I had about this please follow the link below to the Planetary Society Blog where Planetary Scientist Emily Lakdawalla explains the difference very clearly along with the “Basics of Space Flight” by David Doody . It is a very good online resource for knowing about Space flight. You can also download the book Basics of Space Flight and read it.
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) of ISRO is entering a crucial phase on the 24th of September 2014 when the Spacecraft will be inserted into the orbit of Mars after travelling 653 Million Kilometers. Just to remind you:
- PSLV C25 launched the Mars orbiter into an orbit of 250 km X 23,550 km around Earth on 5th November, 2013.
- Six Earth Bound manoeuvers were carried out on 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th and 16th Nov. 2013.
- Trans Mars Injection was carried out on Dec 1, 2013 at 00:49 hrs IST.
- The spacecraft left the Sphere Of Influence of Earth on 4th December, 2013
- The health of the spacecraft and the payloads is normal
The status of MOM today:
- Distance between Earth and MOM – 215 Million kms
- One way communication delay – 718 seconds (~ 12 min.)
- Distance covered on the Heliocentric path – 653 Million kms
- Distance to travel in Heliocentric path to Mars – 13 Million km
- Percentage of the journey covered – 98 %
- Distance between Mars and MOM – 2.496 Million km
Read the press briefing on MOI by the Scientific Secretary of ISRO which clearly explains in a nutshell how this works.
After 2 years and nearly 9 kilometers of driving, NASA’s Mars Curiosity has arrived at the base of Mount Sharp to begin a whole new phase of exploration.
“Welcome to Mars” follows the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity from the second they crash-land on the planet to many months into their ongoing mission. NOVA producer Mark Davis covered the story from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as it unfolded and provided a unique, behind-the-scenes take on this voyage of discovery, whose primary goal is to find evidence that liquid water once existed on Mars.
This video is from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting:
Mars Orbiter Mission was launched on the 5th of November at 14:38 pm from SDHC, SHAR, Sriharikota. This is India’s first interplanetary mission to planet Mars with an orbiter craft designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical orbit. The Mission is primarily a technological mission considering the critical mission operations and stringent requirements on propulsion and other bus systems of spacecraft. One of the main objectives of the first Indian mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
Following are the major objectives of the mission:
A. Technological Objectives:
Design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
Deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management.
Incorporate autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
B. Scientific Objectives:
Exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.