Space

India's Mars Orbiter Mission launches successfully

India's Mars Orbiter Mission l...
Tuesday's launch may make India an interplanetary space-faring nation
Tuesday's launch may make India an interplanetary space-faring nation
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Exploded view of the MOM probe
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Exploded view of the MOM probe
Details of MOM's Mars orbit
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Details of MOM's Mars orbit
PSLV-C25 undergoing launch rehearsal with the Moible Service Tower (MST) retracted
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PSLV-C25 undergoing launch rehearsal with the Moible Service Tower (MST) retracted
Full View of PSLV-C25 on First Launch Pad
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Full View of PSLV-C25 on First Launch Pad
Panaromic view of PSLV-C25
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Panaromic view of PSLV-C25
The launch was from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR)
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The launch was from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR)
Tuesday's launch may make India an interplanetary space-faring nation
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Tuesday's launch may make India an interplanetary space-faring nation
PSLV-C25 lifting off
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PSLV-C25 lifting off
Weather was a minor concern in Tuesday's launch
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Weather was a minor concern in Tuesday's launch
MOM orbital profile
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MOM orbital profile

Today at 2:38 PM IST, India made its bid to join the elite rank of interplanetary space-faring nations with the successful launch of its unmanned Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) from the First Launch Pad at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (IRSO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) on the island of Sriharikota, atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25).

This morning, fueling of the PSLV-C25 rocket was completed and all vehicle systems were switched on for the final countdown at 6:08 AM IST. The Mobile Service Tower was withdrawn, and at 2:24 PM IST, the Mission Director gave the “Go” for launch. At 2:38 PM, the Mars rocket lifted off without a hitch with stage, strap-on rockets, and heat shield separations going as planned.

The fourth stage ignited 33 minutes after the launch at the end of an unusual 27-minute coasting phase. Then, 43 minutes into the launch, the fourth stage shut down and the probe separated from the booster less than one minute later.

MOM orbital profile
MOM orbital profile

There had been concern about the weather because the launch center is prone to high winds, but mission control says that today the weather was cooperative and the launch trajectory of the booster was adjusted to take into account the wind velocity at the site.

The MOM probe is currently in Earth orbit, where it is positioning itself for Mars transfer orbit insertion. Burning a combination of monomethyl hydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide, the main engine will fire a total of six times on on November 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 16 to place it an elliptical parking orbit with an apogee of 23,000 km (14,000 mi) and a perigee of 238 km (148 mi). It will remain there until November 30, when it will fire its engine again to send it on its way to Mars.

Exploded view of the MOM probe
Exploded view of the MOM probe

A main concern of the ISRO is to get MOM to Mars using as little fuel as possible by employing a Hohmann transfer orbit. Fans of hard science fiction will recognize this as the orbital maneuver designed to travel from one planet to another using the least amount of propellant. It’s economical, but it did require a lot of patience, as the ISRO waited for Earth and Mars to move into the right positions for launch. This only occurs once every 780 days, so the next available launch window would have been January 2016.

MOM will remain remain in Earth orbit for about 25 days, then a final firing on November 30 will send the probe onto an interplanetary trajectory. Mars orbit insertion is planned for 21 September 2014, when it will go into a highly elliptical orbit with a periapsis of 377 km (234 mi) and apoapsis of 80,000 km (50,000 mi), circling Mars once every 76.72 hours.

Once on station, the MOM probe will carry out a 6 to 10-month survey of the planet’s surface and atmosphere.

Source: ISRO

17 comments
Simon Sammut
Awesome.. well done India. Other than proving and advancing this technology, will this mission do anything new at Mars? Or will it just be adding to the previous studies of this type?
Jens Kristianson
Very good - but why are they spending money on a space race, when the majority of the population of India is extremely poor and lack clean water? Should India not fix those problems first and then move on to more fancy things such as putting Indians on Mars? Also many countries are giving India monetary aide... something is not right with this picture...
Richard Unger
India should be taking care of their domestic problems rather than showboating their technical ability. Their PR on this mission is more important to them than any science data they may be able to produce. I doubt they will discover anything new, and I doubt we in the western world will get to know about it. This is nothing more than an extravagant PR stunt.
tonympaul
Dear commenting folks here, A few facts, which you guys wont talk about 1. 2007-08: The Indians invested back 32 Billion Pounds in London alone. So that takes care of the Aid money they have given. Since then India has been investing steadily. 2. When EU's economy was going down, we as a part of the BRIC nations, gave a bailout package of 10 Billion USD. 3. As far as their aid is concerned, let me correct you, it is not a charity. Besides, we have told them not to send us anymore aid money, but their parliamentarians have forced it on us. Kindly check if they are doing Money laundering of the tax payer money in the name of Aid money. Really, check that. 4. As far poor people are concerned, well, what do you want us to do? Pay out free doles? so that some lazy poor man gets free money. With which he is going to drink. And then, when his wife asks him money to support family, this bugger is going to beat her up? And then You western media guys are going to make a documentary on that? and then people watching it will name call us again? 5. The Indian Mars mission is the cheapest in the world, 75 Million Dollars, and has 40% women members out of its total team members, which by far is largest number of females working on a complex futuristic prestigious scientific project anywhere in the world. 6. you are ok with selling the rape incidences in India as a soft-porn to the world? But, who are you and what is your technical expertise and qualification to comment on what India should and should not do? 7. Kindly stop calling it a Government's ego boosting project, because, these projects are controlled and authorized by Department of Space and ANTRIX corporation. Which do not run by Govt's policies. They act independently based on the profits generated by them from the launching of satellites they do for other nations. So if you appreciate that, we welcome you with open arms. else, its not a problem. Courtesy: Mr. Sai Kiran Sharma
Bharatlogic
Similar comments were posted when India sent mission to moon... but India made critique silent by discovering water on moon, something which NASA wasn't able to do in spite of several earlier missions. You don't take it as PR stunt, we mean business And if anybody thinking about missions economic burden and poverty in developing country like India, let me tell you that cost of Mars missions is just peanuts for India. Mars mission is costing India $73 million while Indian parliament has recently passed a food security bill giving FREE MEAL to millions of people with a sanctioned budget of $4 billion every year. Being tenth-largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP), India can easily afford such expenses. Let me give you a heads up that India is sending next missions to Venus and Sun followed by a sending manned mission to land on moon by 2020. Stay tuned...
A4Driver
Great...another country with millions of starving people that they cannot even feed, but capable of spending billions on an orbiter program!
Bob Thefirst
"The greatest gain from space travel consists in the extension of our knowledge. In a hundred years this newly won knowledge will pay huge and unexpected dividends." - Professor Werner von Braun
Slowburn
"India was once one of the poorest nations on earth therefor it must not have a space program until the first world agrees that they have taken care of their poor to the extent that they have destroyed their economy to the same extent that the first world has destroyed theirs." This is bullcookie. Go India. ps. What is your immigration policy, and will I have to learn a language other than English?
amc747
Congrats India. Job well done. Use technology for betterment of humanity. Don't worry about the negativity. People who lives in glass houses do not throw rocks at others. One more time congrats India.
Govind NY
India's chandaryaan found water proof on moon & Mangalyaan (MOM) on the way to test methane on Mars. since rover & curiosity fail to say Yes or No about methane on mars.