It was a truly historic moment for India as the country’s first Mars Orbiter Mission, popularly known as Mangalyaan was successfully placed in the red planet’s orbit on Wednesday morning.
September 24, 2014 will go down as a red-letter day in the annals of space exploration as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved which no space agency in world including the USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) managed to do in their first attempt.
Even as crores of Indians were just waking up, hundreds of ISRO scientists were busy manoeuvering the Mangalyaan towards the Martian orbit. With this stupendous achievement, ISRO has become only the fourth space agency which has successfully launched a Mars mission.
The three other agencies – NASA, European Space Agency and Roscosmos have failed to reach Mars in their first attempt.
After carrying out the procedure, ISRO said, “All engines are going strong. Burning of fuel happening.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah were at ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore to witness the crucial Mars Orbiter Insertion.
Mangalyaan is primarily a technological mission and it has been configured to carry out observation of physical features of Mars and carry out limited study of the Martian atmosphere.
ISRO chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan personally led the team of 14 top space scientists in this mission and worked on it for 15 months. More than 200 space scientists were in the control room monitoring even the minutest details of the Mars Mission’s final phase.
ISRO will keep the Mars Spacecraft in the sight of Earth to control it. The ISRO is doing a very complex manoeuvering and the other three nations and space agencies – USA, European Space Agency and Russia have failed in their first attempt.
Mars Spacecraft will send pictures back to the ISRO headquarters in Bangalore. ISRO is hoping to get the first pictures by Wednesday evening. Mars spacecraft can be as close as just 80 kms from the planet.
Mars Mission has been completely flawless since its launch on November 5, 2013.
The Mars Orbiter insertion exercise began at 4:17 AM. The spacecraft switched over to the medium gain antenna at 6:56 AM.
The nail-biting moment was at 7:17 AM when the burn of the liquid apogee motor started and reduce the spacecraft’s speed relative to Mars from 22.3 to 4.2 kilometers per second. It has to awaken as it was in sleeping mode for 300 days. The ISRO received confirmation only at 7:30 AM.
The engine stopped burning at 7:41 AM and communication with the spacecraft was be re-established at 7:47 AM.
Twenty-one minutes prior to the start of the manoeuvre, the spacecraft rotated forward to point its engine.
The engine fired again for about 24 minutes, imparting a deceleration force of 1098.7 metres per second to enable the spacecraft to slip into an orbit with a nearest distance of 423 km to the red planet and a farthest distance of 80,000 km. The manoeuvre consumed 249.5 kg of the 280 kg fuel on board the spacecraft.
On Monday, it successfully test fired its main liquid engine which was in sleep mode for 10 months. The engine was test fired for precisely four seconds.
ISRO has also uploaded commands to help the spacecraft automatically enter the orbit.
The ISRO also has an advantage as it learnt from the previous missions of USA, ESA and Russia. There have been 11 attempts so far by all space agencies in the World. The success rate is just 40 per cent.
The Rs 450 crore mission is one of the cheapest one and costs even less than Hollywood sci-fi film ‘Gravity’.
The Mars Orbiter Mission, India’s first interplanetary mission, was launched by India’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 5, 2013.
The spacecraft entered the orbit of Mars exactly 48 hours after NASA’s 16th successful Mars mission with its Maven spacecraft on Monday.
Mangalyaan: Mars Orbit Insertion Simulation
Source : IBN | Courtesy : ISRO