India's rendezvous with THE RED PLANET - a stupendous success

25 Sep 2014, dilip Comments: | Views: 919 | | Category: India Space

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India has successfully put a satellite into orbit around Mars, becoming the fourth nation or geo-bloc to do so. The Mangalyaan robotic probe, one of the cheapest interplanetary missions ever, will soon begin work studying the Red Planet's atmosphere.

A 24-minute engine burn slowed the probe down enough to allow it to be captured by Mars's gravity.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country had achieved the "near impossible". Only the US, Russia and Europe have previously sent missions to Mars, and India has succeeded on its first attempt - an achievement that eluded even the Americans and the Soviets.

Mr Modi congratulated the scientists and said: "Today, all of India should celebrate our scientists. Schools, colleges should applaud this."

"If our cricket team wins a tournament, the nation celebrates. Our scientists' achievement is greater," he added.

The total cost of the Indian mission has been put at 4.5bn rupees ($74m; £45m), which makes it one of the cheapest interplanetary space missions ever. Nasa's recent Maven mission cost $671m.

The satellite joins four other missions that are circling the planet: Maven (US), Mars Odyssey (US), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (US) and Mars Express (Europe).

The Way it happened:

The plan was for an insertion into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014, approximately 2 days after the arrival of NASA's MAVEN orbiter. The 440N liquid apogee motor was successfully test fired at 09:00 UTC (14:30 IST) on 22 September for 3.968 seconds, about 41 hours before actual orbit insertion.

On 24 September 2014, at IST 04:17:32 satellite communication changed over to the medium gain antenna. At IST 06:56:32 forward rotation started and locked the position to fire, at IST 07:14:32 an attitude control manoeuvre took place with the help of thrusters after eclipse started at IST 07:12:19 and LAM (Liquid Apogee Motor) started burning at IST 07:17:32 and ended at IST 07:41:46. After that reverse manoeuvre took place, the spacecraft successfully entered Martian orbit.

The orbit insertion put MOM in a highly elliptical orbit around Mars, with a period of 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds and a periapsis of 421.7 km (262.0 mi) and apoapsis of 76,993.6 km (47,841.6 mi).[6] At the end of the orbit insertion, MOM was left with 40 kg (88 lb) of fuel as against the 20 kg (44 lb) that was thought necessary for the six-month life span.

A Schemetic Showing The Complex Mars Orbit Insertion

Marking India's first venture into the interplanetary space, MOM will explore and observe Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere. Further, a specific search for methane in the Martian atmosphere will provide information about the possibility or the past existence of life on the planet.

After leaving Earth, the Orbiter had endured the Interplanetary space for 300 days before Mars capture. Apart from deep space communications and navigation-guidance-control capabilities, the mission required autonomy at the spacecraft end to handle contingencies.

Once India decided to go to Mars, ISRO had no time to lose as the nearest launch window was only a few months away and it could not afford to lose the chance, given the next launch would present itself after over 780 days, in 2016. Thus, mission planning, manufacturing the spacecraft and the launch vehicle and readying the support systems took place swiftly and what happened is a success to be cherished by generations.

WISHING MORE OF SUCH SUCCESS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FIELD for our country

JAI HIND

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