First hurdle in Mars mission

Fourth orbit-raising falls short of target

By Vibha Varshney
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015

The Mars Orbiter Mission failed to fully meet its objective of increasing the velocity of the orbiter during the fourth orbit raising manoeuvre on Tuesday morning.

While testing the orbiter’s built-in propulsion system, when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) energised the primary and redundant coils together, flow to the liquid engine stopped but the operation continued. Though both the coils cannot be operated together, ISRO says the two coils would now be operated independently in sequence. This means reduction of the incremental velocity from the planned 130 metre per second to 35 metre per second. Instead of an apogee (farthest distance from the earth) of 100,000 km, the orbiter is now 78,276 km.

But the orbiter is in normal health, says the national space agency. A supplementary orbit-raising operation is planned on Tuesday at 5 am to raise the apogee to the required distance.
The orbiter was placed in the earth’s orbit on November 5, this year. A total of six orbit raises have been planned before the orbiter is to be sent off on its way to Mars on December 1 this year.

India launches Mars-bound probe

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