India’s Mangalyaan set to reach Mars' orbit in 100 days

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) completes 70 per cent of space journey, NASA’s MAVEN also to reach Mars about the same time

 
By Anushka Kaushik
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015

At the end of the heliocentric phase, Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre will be carried out by firing the Liquid Engine onboard and the spacecraft will be inserted into the intended Martian Orbit. The Trans Mars Injection (TMI), carried out on December 1 last year, moved the spacecraft in the Mars Transfer Trajectory (MTT) when spacecraft crossed Earth’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) and entered heliocentric elliptic cruise phase  (Image courtesy ISRO)

India is set to become one of only four nations to successfully launch probes that investigate Mars through orbit or surface when the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) reaches its destination in 100 days.

India’s Mangalyaan will reach the Red Planet's orbit on September 24; it will be a milestone for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) as it marks the nation’s first inter-planetary mission, launched on November 5 of last year.

Confirming the sound condition of its five payloads that consist of two spectrometers, a radiometer, a photometer, and a camera, ISRO stated that it was continuously monitoring the Mars orbiter spacecraft using its extensive Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN).

Speaking on the trajectory of India’s Mars orbiter, Deviprasad Karnik, ISRO’s chief spokesperson, said, “We will be making one more course correction scheduled during August.”
The primary objective of this mission is to develop technologies that will be required for designing and management of India’s inter-planetary missions in the future.

Meanwhile, NASA’s 10th Mars orbiter, MAVEN, will soon yield answers to some key questions about the evolution of Mars’ atmosphere.
 
MAVEN or the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution  will reach Mars two days before India's orbiter, despite having been launched at a later date, because of differences between their respective launch vehicles.

ISRO’s orbiter craft performed six orbit raising manoeuvres to be placed on a heliocentric elliptical trajectory around Mars (also known as Trans Mars Injection)  whereas MAVEN will “execute an orbit insertion maneuver, firing six thrusters that will allow it to be captured by Mars' orbit”.

The MAVEN objectives, according to NASA, are to study loss of volatile compounds like carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water from the atmosphere of Mars. The planet’s interaction with the sun and solar wind will also be studied. MAVEN's operation is slated to span over one year.

India and USA’s Mars orbiters join three active orbiters as well as two surface rovers—Opportunity and Curiosity, that have been collecting and sending information from Mars since their respective landings.


Feature: India launches Mars-bound probe

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