PSLV places satellite in Earth's orbit; subsequent tests conducted on orbiter satisfactory, say scientists
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.
Present at the launch were Union minister of state in Prime Minister's Office, V Narayanasamy, senior scientists of ISRO involved in the Mars mission and some former scientists, including former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan and Yash Pal, the first director of ISRO's Space Application Centre.
After the orbiter was successfully placed in Earth's orbit, tests were conducted on the orbiter which, ISRO scientists said, were satisfactory.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had announced the mission last August from the ramparts of Delhi Red Fort on Independence Day, called up Radhakrishnan to congratulate him and his organisation on the successful launch of the Mars mission. Scientists and researchers at ISRO got the orbiter ready—fitted with five instruments that would study the planet—in less than 20 months.
The orbiter is to be taken to Mars in two steps. In the first, which has already been accomplished, PSLV carried the orbiter to the Earth’s orbit and released it. In the second step, the orbiter, after travelling in space for nearly 300 days, will be injected into the orbit of Mars. ISRO scientists say that the inbuilt autonomy would ensure that the orbiter can continue the journey on its own with minimum control from the ground station.
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