The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the Mangalyaan, also known as the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on 5 November 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This is India’s first interplanetary mission. The details from this article will be useful in the IAS Exam.
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Background of the Mangalyaan Mission
- The mission was first announced by the then ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair in November 2008. A feasibility study was conducted in 2010 and governmental approval came in 2012.
- The mission was launched by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on 5 November 2013 into a highly elliptical earth orbit.
Brief Facts about the Mangalyan Mission
Some brief facts about the Mangalyan Mission are given in the table below:
- Launch vehicle: PSLV-C25
- Time: 9:50 AM; Date: 5 November 2013 (launch into earth’s orbit)
- Launch mass: 1337 kg: Power of the spacecraft: 840 W
- The mission was planned to last 6 months. Now, 3 years have elapsed since the mission was launched.
- The mission entered the Mars orbit on 24 September 2014.
Purpose of the Mars Orbiter Mission
- The primary objectives of the mission are to develop technologies required for designing and operating interplanetary missions.
- The scientific objectives are:
- Exploring the surface of Mars, its topography, morphology and mineralogy.
- Studying the composition of the Martian atmosphere including carbon dioxide and methane.
- Studying the dynamics of the upper Martian atmosphere such as the effects of solar wind and radiation.
- Payloads: The mission carried five payloads.
- As of May 19, 2017, the mission completed 1000 days in orbit around Mars. It has completed 388 orbits of Mars and sent back to earth more than 715 images. It continues in the Mars orbit and is maintaining communications with earth.
- On 24 September 2018, MOM completed 4 years in its orbit around Mars, although the designed mission life was only six months. Over these years, MOM’s Mars Colour Camera has captured over 980 images that were released to the public. The probe is still in good health and continues to work nominally.
- On 24 September 2019, MOM completed 5 years in orbit around Mars, sending 2 terabytes of imaging data, and had enough propellant to complete another year in orbit.
- On 1 July 2020, Mangalyaan was able to capture a photo of the Mars satellite Phobos from 4200 km away
- Some of the chief scientists involved in MOM: (designations as on during the launch)
- K Radhakrishnan – Chairman, ISRO
- M Annadurai – Programme Director, MOM
- S Ramakrishnan – Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
- S R Shivakumar – Director, ISRO Satellite Centre
- M Y S Prasad – Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre
- Mangalyaan is a remarkable achievement by Indian scientists because the mission to Mars was successful in its first attempt itself. The total estimated cost of the mission is US$71 million as opposed to NASA’s Mars mission Maven that has an estimated cost of US$671 million.
- The mission won the Space Pioneer Award (2015) in the science and engineering category given by the National Space Society (USA).
- Mangalyaan 2 has been announced and will probably be launched in 2021-2022.
Also on This Day
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See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.
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