India reaches for Mars

Published: Tuesday 05 November 2013


The spacecraft had raised concerns on Monday after failing to reach desired velocity and apogee
Author: Vibha Varshney
A supplementary orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars orbiter spacecraft on Tuesday raised its apogee (farthest distance from the earth) from 78,276km to 11,8642km. The additional effort had been necessitated after the fourth orbit-raising on Monday had failed to meet its objective of increasing the velocity of the orbiter. Instead of the set target of 100,000 km, the orbiter reached an apogee of only 78,276 km.
Fourth orbit-raising falls short of target
Author: Vibha Varshney
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
Why we need to spend more on science than on going to movies or cricket
Author: Vibha Varshney
Though one could not see it very clearly, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) taking off with the Mars orbiter was pretty audible. The roar could be heard for a few seconds, and in just around a minute, the great ball of fire over the trees surrounding the media centre at Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota turned into a tail of smoke and disappeared into the horizon.
PSLV places satellite in Earth’s orbit; subsequent tests conducted on orbiter satisfactory, say scientists
Author: Vibha Varshney
In what was described as a textbook launch, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), carrying the Mars orbiter, took off as scheduled from Sriharikota at 2.38 pm on Tuesday. Forth-three minutes later, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairperson, K Radhakrishnan, announced that the launch vehicle has placed the Mars orbiter spacecraft very precisely into an elliptical orbit around Earth. The announcement was greeted with cheers by those who had gathered to watch the silver jubilee, inter-planetary mission of PSLV.
The orbiter would be taken to Mars in two steps–in the first, it will be taken to the Earth's orbit
Author: Vibha Varshney
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to send off an orbiter to Mars on November 5 at 2.38 pm. The countdown for the launch of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the launcher which would carry the orbiter to the parking orbit around the Earth in the first step of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), started at 6.08 am on November 3.
K Radhakrishnan, chairperson of ISRO, says if Mars Orbiter Mission is successful, the organisation will look at a larger mission, possibly studies on Mars to explain how life came to Earth. Excerpts of his interview:
Author: Vibha Varshney
Why Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)?
India's space programme is an application-centric and a people-centric programme. It aims at self reliance in satellite technology (communication, navigation, remote sensing). Mars mission would put exacting demands on technology and drive frontier technologies which would find application in satellites and enable new application for common man. It is a chain.


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