India's first Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) to leave Earth's orbit soon after midnight

India's first Mars Orbiter Mission(MOM) will bid adieu to the Earth's orbit soon after the intervening midnight of Saturday-Sunday on a 300-day voyage to the red planet.

Launched by PSLV-C25 on November 5 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft has been orbiting the Earth, increasing its farthest point through six orbit-raising manoeuvre controlled by the Isro ground station in Bangalore.

"Some 250 scientists are working on the last big exercise before the spacecraft leaves the earth's orbit. It should be done before you wake up on Sunday," Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan told TOI on Saturday.

Through six orbit raising exercises, scientists have brought the apogee (the spacecraft's farthest point from Earth) from the initial 25,000km to 1.92 lakh km.

At 9.45am on Saturday, scientists at the Satellite Control Centre loaded the commands to the spacecraft which would fire on it own to increase velocity. "The last thrust will impart a delta velocity of 647.87metres per second," said Radhakrishnan. 

This will help the spacecraft attain a cumulative velocity of 11.4km per second one to escape the earth's gravity (11.2km per second is considered the escape velocity)

As the spacecraft starts its voyage through the spheres of influence of sun and Mars, four mid course correction processes are planned to keep it on course. "We have planned the first one on Dec 11," said Radhakrishnan.

"The next ones will be on December 11, April, August and September, 2014. The last correction will be about 15 days before the spacecraft comes near Mars. Then follows the Mars orbiter insertion."

Mars Orbiter Mission

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mars Orbiter Mission
Mars Orbiter Mission - India - ArtistsConcept.jpg
Artist's rendering of the MOM orbiting Mars
Mission type Mars orbiter
Operator ISRO
COSPAR ID 2013-060A
SATCAT № 39370
Mission duration 300 days
Spacecraft properties
Bus I-1K[1]
Manufacturer ISAC
Launch mass 1,337 kg (2,948 lb)[2]
Dry mass 500 kg (1,100 lb)
Payload mass 15 kg (33 lb)[3]
Dimensions 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) cube
Power 840 watts[1]
Start of mission
Launch date 5 November 2013, 09:08 UTC[4]
Rocket PSLV-XL C25[5]
Launch site Satish Dhawan FLP
Contractor ISRO
Orbital parameters
Reference system Areocentric
Periareon 365.3 km (227.0 mi)
Apoareon 80,000 km (50,000 mi)
Inclination 150.0° [6]
Period 76.72 hours
Epoch Planned
Mars orbiter
Orbital insertion 24 September 2014 [7]

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called Mangalyaan (Sanskritमंगलयान, "Mars-Craft"), is a Mars orbiter launched into Earth orbit on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[8][9][10][11] The mission is a "technology demonstrator" project aiming to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.[12]

The Mars Orbiter Mission probe lifted-off from the First Launch Pad at SriharikotaAndhra Pradesh near Chennai, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 at 09:08 UTC (2:38 PM IST) on 5 November 2013.[13] The launch window was approximately 20 days long and started on 28 October 2013.[4] It is India's first interplanetary mission and if successful, ISRO would become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space programNASA, and European Space Agency.[14]

The MOM probe spent a month in Earth orbit where it made a series of seven altitude-raising orbital manoeuvres before insertion into aheliocentric Mars transfer orbit on 30 November 2013 (UTC).[15] The spacecraft is being currently 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 atByalalu.[16]




The MOM mission concept began with a feasibility study in 2010, after the launch of lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1 in 2008.[17] The government of India approved the project on 3 August 2012,[18] after the Indian Space Research Organisation completed INR125 crore (US$19 million) of required studies for the orbiter.[19] The total project cost may be up to INR454 crore (US$69 million).[8][20] The satellite costs INR153 crore(US$23 million) and the rest of the budget has been attributed to ground stations and relay upgrades that will be used for other ISRO projects.[21]

The space agency had initially planned the launch on 28 October 2013 but was postponed to 5 November 2013 following the inability of ISRO's spacecraft tracking ships to take up pre-determined positions due to poor weather in the Pacific Ocean.[4] Launch opportunities for a fuel-savingHohmann transfer orbit occur about every 26 months, in this case, 2016 and 2018.[22] The Mars Orbiter's on-orbit mission life will be between six and ten months.

Assembly of the PSLV-XL launch vehicle, designated C25, started on 5 August 2013.[23] The mounting of the five scientific instruments was completed at ISRO Satellite CentreBangalore, and the finished spacecraft was shipped to Sriharikota on 2 October 2013 for integration to the PSLV-XL launch vehicle.[23] The satellite's development was fast-tracked and completed in a record 15 months.[24] Despite the U.S. federal government shutdown, NASA reaffirmed on 5 October 2013 it would provide communications and navigation support to the mission.[25] ISRO chairman stated in November 2013 that if the MOM and NASA's orbiter MAVEN were successful, they would complement each other in findings and help understand Mars better.[26]

P. Kunhikrishnan was the PSLV-XL spacecraft launch Mission Director. Mylswamy Annadurai is the Program Director and Subbiah Arunan is the Project Director. S. K. Shivkumar of ISAC was responsible for the orbiting payload and also oversaw design and development of the orbiter.[27]


The primary objective of the Mars Orbiter Mission is to showcase India's rocket launch systems, spacecraft-building and operations capabilities.[28] 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:[12]

  • Design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to perform Earth-bound manoeuvres, 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.[28]


PSLV-C25 carrying the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft was launched from Sriharikota on November 05, 2013
The lift-off mass was 1,350 kg (2,980 lb), including 852 kg (1,878 lb) of propellant mass.
Cuboid in shape of approximately 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
The spacecraft's bus is a modified I-1 K structure and propulsion hardware configurations similar to Chandrayaan 1, India's lunar orbiter that operated from 2008 to 2009, with specific improvements and upgrades needed for a Mars mission.[28] The satellite structure is of aluminum and composite fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) sandwich construction.
Electric power is generated by three solar array panels of 1.8 × 1.4 m (5 ft 10 in × 4 ft 7 in) each (7.56 m2 (81.4 sq ft) total), for a maximum of 840 Wgeneration in Martian orbit. Electricity is stored in a 36 Ah Li-ion battery.[1]
Liquid fuel engine of 440 N thrust is used for orbit raising and insertion in Martian orbit. The orbiter also has eight 22 N thrusters for attitude control or orientation.[29]
Two 230 W TWTAs and two coherent transponders. The antenna array consists of a low-gain antenna, a medium-gain antenna and a high-gain antenna. The High-gain antenna system is based on a single 2.2 meter reflector illuminated by a feed at S-band. It is used to transmit and receive the telemetry, tracking, commanding and data to and from the Indian Deep Space Network.[1]


Scientific instruments
LAP Lyman-Alpha Photometer 1.97 Kg
MSM Methane Sensor For Mars 2.94 Kg
MENCA Mars Exospheric Neutral
Composition Analyser
3.56 Kg
TIS Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer 3.2 Kg
MCC Mars Colour Camera 1.27 Kg

The 15 kg (33 lb) scientific payload consists of five instruments:[3][30][31]

Atmospheric studies
Particle environment studies
  • Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) — is a quadrupole mass analyzer capable of analysing the neutral composition of particles in the exosphere.
Surface imaging studies
  • Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS) — will measure the temperature and emissivity of the Martian surface, allowing for the mapping of surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.
  • Mars Colour Camera (MCC) — will provide images in the visual spectrum, providing context for the other instruments.

Telemetry and command[edit]

The Indian Space Research Organisation Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network performed navigation and tracking operations for the launch with ground stations at Sriharikota, Port Blair,Brunei and Biak in Indonesia,[32] and after the spacecraft's apogee became more than 100,000 km, two large 18-metre and 32-metre diameter antennas of the Indian Deep Space Network started to be utilised.[33] NASA's Deep Space Network is providing position data through its three stations located in Canberra, Madrid and Goldstone on the U.S. West Coast during the non-visible period of ISRO's network.[34] Additional monitoring is provided by technicians on board two leased ships from the Shipping Corporation of IndiaSCI Nalanda and SCI Yamuna which are currently in position in the South Pacific near Fiji.[33][35]

Mission profile[edit]

Timeline of operations
Geocentric phase 5 November 2013 09:08 UTC Launch Burn time: 15:35 min in 5 stages Apogee: 23,550 km [36]
6 November 2013 19:47 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Burn time: 416 sec Apogee: 23,550 km to 28,825 km [37]
7 November 2013 20:48 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Burn time: 570.6 sec Apogee: 28,825 km to 40,186 km [38][39]
8 November 2013 20:40 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Burn time: 707 sec Apogee: 40,186 km to 71,636 km [38][40]
10 November 2013 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Incomplete burn Apogee: 71,636 km to 78,276 km [41]
11 November 2013 23:33 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre
Burn time: 303.8 sec Apogee: 78,276 km to 118,642 km [38]
15 November 2013 19:57 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Burn time: 243.5 sec Apogee: 118,642 km to 192,874 km [38][42]
30 November 2013, 19:19 UTC Trans Mars Injection (TMI) Burn time: 1328.89 sec Successful [43]
Heliocentric phase December 2013 - September 2014 En route to Mars - The probe is currently travelling a distance of 780 million kilometers (484 million miles) to reach Mars. The plan includes four trajectory correction maneuvers: December 11, April 2014, August 2014, and September 14. [44][45][46]
Martian phase 24 September 2014 (planned) Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre      
  Highlight indicates current ongoing event



On 19 October 2013, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan announced that the launch had to be postponed by a week as a result of a delay of a crucial telemetry ship reaching Fiji Islands. The launch was rescheduled for 5 November 2013.[47] ISRO's PSLV-XL placed the satellite in Earth orbit at 09:50 UTC, on 5 November 2013,[19] with a perigee of 264.1 km, an apogee of 23,903.6 km, and inclination of 19.20 degrees,[36] with both the antenna and all three sections of the solar panel arrays deployed.[48] During the first three orbit raising operations, ISRO progressively tested the spacecraft systems.[42]

The orbiter's dry mass is 500 kg (1,100 lb), and it carries 852 kg (1,878 lb) of fuel and oxidiser. Its main engine, which is a derivative of the system used on India's communications satellites, uses the bipropellant combination monomethylhydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide to achieve the thrust necessary for escape velocity from Earth, and later, to slow the probe for Mars orbit insertion and subsequently for orbit corrections.

Orbit raising manoeuvres[edit]

Several orbit raising operations were conducted from the Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bangalore on 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 16 November by using the spacecraft's on-board propulsion system and Earth flybys for gravity assist. The aim is to gradually build up the necessary escape velocity (11.2 km/s) to break free from Earth's gravitational pull while minimizing propellant use. The first three of the five planned orbit raising manoeuvres were completed with nominal results, while the fourth was only partially successful. However, a subsequent supplementary manoeuvre raised the orbit to the intended altitude aimed for in the original fourth manoeuvre. A total of six burns were completed while the spacecraft remained in Earth orbit, with a seventh burn conducted on 30 November to insert MOM into a heliocentric orbit for its transit to Mars.

The first orbit-raising manoeuvre was performed on 6 November 2013 at 19:47 UTC when the 440 newtons (99 lbfliquid engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds. With this engine firing, the spacecraft's apogee was raised to 28,825 km, while its perigee is at 252 km.[37] The second orbit raising manoeuvre was performed on 7 November 2013 at 20:48 UTC, with a burn time of 570.6 seconds resulting in an apogee of 40,186 km. [38][39] The third orbit raising manoeuvre was performed on 8 November 2013 at 20:40 UTC, with a burn time of 707 seconds resulting in an apogee of 71,636 km. [38][40]

The fourth orbit raising manoeuvre, starting at 20:36 UTC on 10 November 2013, imparted only a small incremental velocity of 35 m/s to the spacecraft instead of the planned 135 m/s as a result of underburn by the motor.[41][49] Because of this, the apogee was boosted to 78,276 km instead of the planned 100,000 km.[41] When testing the redundancies built-in for the propulsion system, the flow to the liquid engine stopped, with consequent reduction in incremental velocity. During the fourth orbit burn, the primary and redundant coils of the solenoid flow control valve of 440 Newton liquid engine and logic for thrust augmentation by the attitude control thrusters were being tested. When both primary and redundant coils were energised together during the planned modes, the flow to the liquid engine stopped. Operating both the coils simultaneously is not possible for future operations, however they could be operated independently of each other, in sequence.[42] As a result of the fourth planned burn coming up short, an additional unscheduled burn was performed on 12 November 2013 to which increased the apogee to 118,642 km, [42][38] a slightly higher altitude than originally intended in the fourth manoeuvre.[38][50]

The apogee was raised to 192,874 km on 16 November 2013 in the final orbit raising manoeuvre.[38][51]

Transfer and cruise[edit]

On 30 November 2013 at 19:19 UTC, a 23-minute engine firing initiated the transfer of MOM away from Earth orbit and on heliocentric trajectory toward Mars.[52] The probe will have to travel a distance of 780 million kilometers (484 million miles) to reach Mars.[53] Four trajectory corrections are planned, the first happening on December 11, 2013, hen in April 2014, August 2014, and September 2014.[46]

Mars orbit insertion[edit]

The current plan is for a Mars orbit insertion on 24 September 2014,[7] approximately 2 days after the arrival of NASA's MAVEN orbiter.[54] MOM will be set on a highly elliptical orbit around Mars, with a period of 76.72 hours and a planned periapsis of 365.3 km (227.0 mi) and apoapsis of 80,000 km (50,000 mi).[55]

See also[edit]




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