The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for “Mars-Craft”), is a Mars orbiter launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). MOM is India’s first interplanetary mission to planet Mars.
As designated, it reached the Mars orbit on 24th Sept, 2014. Let us understand what we know about the Mars Orbiter till date.
1. ISRO became the first Asian and fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency.
2. The mission was accomplished at a cost of Rs 450 crores and has hence been a target to criticism ever since.
3. However, Mangalyaan’s goal was to attain orbit around Mars using minimum fuel. It did that by taking the 690-million km trip in a sun-centric curved orbit to reach Mars, even though both the planets are just 55-million km away at their closest, by completing a 300-day journey, because a linear path would not have been energy efficient.
4. ISRO also tried to cut the costs by recycling equipment and using indigenous technology and manpower.
5. It took 500 scientists and 15 months of hard work to ensure the smooth departure of the Mars Orbiter.
6. The launch was originally scheduled for October 19, 2013, but it had to be postponed due to delay in assembling the parts.
7. The preparation for launch started on 22nd October, 2013 and MOM was finally sent off on 5th November, 2013.
8. MOM is not alone, on 18th November, 2013 Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), a space probe by NASA was also launched, which is a heavier spacecraft than MOM and used different trajectory to reach the Mars Orbit.
9. Mars Orbiter has two major objectives:
Scientific– Exploration of Mars in search of Methane and other regards by indigenous scientific instruments.
Technological: Test ISRO’s Deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management while performing Earth bound maneuvers.
10. Mangalyaan was first injected into an elliptical orbit around Earth by the launch vehicle, PSLV-XL, instead of a circular orbit.
11. The MOM probe spent about a month in Earth orbit, where it made a series of seven orbit raising maneuvers before trans-Mars injection on 1st December, 2013.
12. After going through four Trajectory Correction Manoeuver (TCM) to reach Mars, ISRO successfully completed Test Firing of Main Liquid Engine of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft on 22nd September, 2014.
13. The Day- 24th Sept, 2014, MOM successfully entered Mars Orbit at scheduled time of around 6.45 am.
14. Forward rotation has started but at the moment the radio link between the Spacecraft and Earth is blocked by Mars.
After this great achievement, this is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to say, in appreciation:
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