SRIHARIKOTA, Andhra Pradesh: The country’s first mission to the red planet was launched successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Tuesday at 2.38 pm.
The launch gives India an entry into an exclusive club of nations with interplanetary travel capabilities. The nine-month long journey, after the Orbiter goes around Earth for 22-25 days, is scheduled to enter Mars’ orbit on September 24, 2014.
ISRO’s success has put India into a league China tried, and failed, to enter last year. Japan’s Mars mission had failed too in 2003.
PSLV C-25 will put Mangalyaan weighing 1,340 kilograms in the earth orbit. To reach Mars, the spacecraft has to enter three phases, the earth centered phase, the helio centric phase and finally the Martian phase.
The Rs 450-crore Mars Orbiter Mission is India's first interplanetary mission to planet Mars with an orbiter craft designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical orbit. The project, built over a remarkably short period of two years, is primarily a technological mission considering the critical operations and stringent requirements on propulsion and other systems of the spacecraft.
Lauding the efforts of the scientists, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan announced that the PSLV vehicle is in good health, and added that the spacecraft has carried out the tasks that were intended to be done.
"We witnessed another excellent launch of our PSLV vehicle. The launch rocket has placed the Mars Orbiter spacecraft very precisely into an elliptical orbit around Earth .I am happy to announce that the space craft is in good health, and it has done the tasks that were intended to be done, namely crucial deployment of the solar panel, and actions are going on at Bangalore," he said.
The Mars Orbiter will observe the physical features of Mars and conduct limited study of the Martian atmosphere as finalised by the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences.
The pay loads include Lyman Lpha Photometer to measure the relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen from Lyman- alpha emission; Methane Sensor for Mars to measure methane in the Martian atmosphere, and thus determine past existence of life; Mars Colour Camera to capture images and information about the surface of Mars and its composition; Mars Exopheric Neutral Composition Analyser, which is a spectrometer; and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer to map surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.
Just 21 out of the 51 missions launched to Mars by different countries have been successful and that too by only three space agencies — NASA, European Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency (better known as Roscosmos).
The technological objective include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earthbound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on- orbit phase around Mars; ensure deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management,” a spokesperson for the mission pointed out.
It has been configured to carry out observations of the physical features of the Mars and also to carry out a limited study of the Martian atmosphere.