Did you Know about India’s Mars Mission, that just started few months ago! The amazing project has been started in accordance of our brilliant Scientists. Let’s take a look back and see what it is!
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan (“Mars-craft”, from Sanskrit: मंगल mangala, “Mars” and यान yāna, “craft, vehicle”), is a spacecraft orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
The mission is a “technology demonstrator” project to develop the technologies for design, planning, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission. It carries five instruments that will help advance knowledge about Mars to achieve its secondary, scientific objective.
The Mars Orbiter Mission probe lifted-off from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (Sriharikota Range SHAR), Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 at 09:08 UTC (14:38 IST) on 5 November 2013. The launch window was approximately 20 days long and started on 28 October 2013. The MOM probe spent about a month in Earth orbit, where it made a series of seven apogee-raising orbital manoeuvres before trans-Mars injection on 30 November 2013 (UTC). After a 298-day transit to Mars, it was successfully inserted into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014.
It is India’s first interplanetary mission and ISRO has become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency. It is also the first nation to reach Mars orbit on its first attempt, and the first Asian nation to do so.
The spacecraft is currently being monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu.
The MOM mission concept began with a feasibility study in 2010, after the launch of lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. The government of India approved the project on 3 August 2012, after the Indian Space Research Organisation completed INR125 crore (US$20 million) of required studies for the orbiter. The total project cost may be up to INR454 crore (US$74 million). The satellite costs INR153 crore (US$25 million) and the rest of the budget has been attributed to ground stations and relay upgrades that will be used for other ISRO projects.
The space agency had planned the launch on 28 October 2013 but was postponed to 5 November 2013 following the delay in ISRO’s spacecraft tracking ships to take up pre-determined positions due to poor weather in the Pacific Ocean. Launch opportunities for a fuel-saving Hohmann transfer orbit occur every 26 months, in this case, 2016 and 2018. The Mars Orbiter’s on-orbit mission life is six-to-ten months.
Assembly of the PSLV-XL launch vehicle, designated C25, started on 5 August 2013. The mounting of the five scientific instruments was completed at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, and the finished spacecraft was shipped to Sriharikota on 2 October 2013 for integration to the PSLV-XL launch vehicle. The satellite’s development was fast-tracked and completed in a record 15 months. Despite the US federal government shutdown, NASA reaffirmed on 5 October 2013 it would provide communications and navigation support to the mission. During a meeting in 30 September 2014, NASA and ISRO officials signed an agreement to establish a pathway for future joint missions to explore Mars. One of the working group’s objectives will be to explore potential coordinated observations and science analysis between MAVEN orbiter and MOM, as well as other current and future Mars missions.
The total cost of the mission was approximately INR450 Crore (US$73 million), making it the least-expensive Mars mission to date. The low cost of the mission was ascribed by K. Radhakrishnan, the chairman of ISRO, to various factors, including a “modular approach”, a small number of ground tests and long (18-20 hour) working days for scientists. BBC’s Jonathan Amos mentioned lower worker costs, home-grown technologies, simpler design, and significantly less complicated payload than NASA’s MAVEN. An opinion piece in The Hindu pointed out that the cost was equivalent to less than a single bus ride for each of India’s population of 1.2 billion.
The primary objective of the Mars Orbiter Mission is to showcase India’s rocket launch systems, spacecraft-building and operations capabilities. Specifically, the primary objective is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission, comprising the following major tasks:
design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to perform Earth-bound maneuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars;
deep-space communication, navigation, mission planning and management;
incorporate autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
The secondary objective is to explore Mars’ surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.
Mass: The lift-off mass was 1,350 kg (2,980 lb), including 852 kg (1,878 lb) of propellant.
Bus: The spacecraft’s bus is a modified I-1 K structure and propulsion hardware configuration, similar to Chandrayaan 1, India’s lunar orbiter that operated from 2008 to 2009, with specific improvements and upgrades needed for a Mars mission. The satellite structure is constructed of an aluminium and composite fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) sandwich construction.
Power: Electric power is generated by three solar array panels of 1.8 m × 1.4 m (5 ft 11 in × 4 ft 7 in) each (7.56 m2 (81.4 sq ft) total), for a maximum of 840 watts of power generation in Mars orbit. Electricity is stored in a 36 Ah Li-ion battery.
Propulsion: A liquid fuel engine with a thrust of 440 newtons is used for orbit raising and insertion into Mars orbit. The orbiter also has eight 22-newton thrusters for attitude control. Its propellant mass is 852 kg.
Here’s a stimulated position view of our amazing ‘Mangalyaan’