UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Nov 5

5 November 2013

Mangalyaan launched by ISRO.

What happened?

Global short of Mars from MOM

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 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.
  • 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 MOM:
  1. The primary objectives of the mission are to develop technologies required for designing and operating interplanetary missions.
  2. The scientific objectives are:
    1. Exploring the surface of Mars, its topography, morphology and mineralogy.
    2. Studying the composition of the Martian atmosphere including carbon dioxide and methane.
    3. Studying the dynamics of the upper Martian atmosphere such as effects of solar wind and radiation.
  • Payloads: The mission carried five payloads.
  1. Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM): To measure methane in the atmosphere of Mars.
  2. Mars Color Camera (MCC): To give images and information about the surface and atmosphere of Mars. To also probe the two satellites of Mars – Phobos and Deimos.
  3. Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP): To measure the abundance of deuterium and hydrogen in the upper atmosphere.
  4. Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA): To study neutral gas atoms in the atmosphere.
  5. Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS): To map surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.
  • 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.
  • 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 

1870: Birth of ‘Deshbandhu’ Chittaranjan Das. 2006: Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, sentenced to death by the interim government.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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