Indian Space Station
Mangalyaan - ISRO's mission to Red Planet
Published on 07 October 2012
India's Quest for Mars to be Finally Realized
November 5th, 2013
Detailed launch video of PSLV-C25 carrying MoM
"Curiosity has landed", but what about ISRO's mission to Mars ? It is known for a while that ISRO is planning a mission to Mars. However, this was not disclosed officially till Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced publicly on the occasion of 66th Independence day.
PM announcing the Mangalyaan mission during the Independence speech
India will be the 6th country to launch a mission to Mars after the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and China. Though the missions by Japan and China were not successful. ISRO is trying to showcase the world that we are match to any other space agency in the world in terms of intellectual, technology and resource.
The mission to Mars will be launched on November, 2013 on-board PSLV-XL from Sriharikota. This is the deadline that ISRO can not miss at any cost. As Earth and Mars come close to each other for every 2 years. As per our information, mission to Mars is the highest priority for ISRO as of now. To make sure that the launch window is not missed, ISRO is also considering the option of launching the spacecraft earlier and then move the space craft towards Mars orbit later on.
The launch of this mission in November 2013 would allows the spacecraft to enter highly elliptical orbit of 500km x 80,000km around Mars in September 2014. If ISRO misses this window in November 2013 then the next window will be in 2016.
Cost and travel duration
The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 450 crores (Rs. 4.5 billions). Mars spacecraft will take around 300 days to reach the Martian orbit.
The scientific objective of this mission are,
- To study climate, geology, origin and evolution of Mars
- To study sustainability of life on the planet
Considering the tight schedule, ISRO may not go with the foreign scientific instruments to keep everything under their control. ISRO is planning to include four scientific payloads, they are
- Instrument to detect Methane
- Instrument to study the atmosphere
- Instrument to take pictures of the Martian surface
- Instrument to study the chemical composition of Mars
History of ISRO's achievements
Technology to be developed
Some of the skill and technology that ISRO is planning to achieve with this interplanetary mission are (Source: to Indian Space Science Data Center) ,
- Develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission
- Orbit maneuvers to transfer the spacecraft from Earth-centered orbit to heliocentric trajectory and finally capture into Martian orbit
- Development of force models and algorithms for orbit and attitude computations and analyses
- Navigation in all phases
- Maintain the spacecraft in all phases of the Mission meeting Power, Communications, Thermal and Payload operation requirements
- Incorporate autonomous features to handle contingency situations
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has already fabricated the spacecraft panels for the ISRO's Mars orbiter mission. This was handed over to ISRO on Sept 21, 2012. Also, the testing of main engine of the Mars orbiter known as Liquie Apogee Motor (LAM) was started on October 8, 2012. This important engine testing is being done in ISRO's Liquid Propulsion Systems Center at Mahendra Giri in Tamil nadu, India. The engine was test fired for 670 seconds and the testing was successful. This testing will go on for next 45 days. LAM. This is a crucial testing as engine has to restart after 300 days when the orbiter enters the Mars orbit.
Mangalyaan, India's Mars mission is scheduled to be launched from Sriharikota on November 5th, 2013. The countdown has already begun.