In a proud moment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails the historic achievement of the nation as it reaches the Mars orbit successfully. India on Wednesday created a history by becoming the first country in the world to enter the Martian orbit in its first attempt! The Mars orbiter was successfully inserted into the red planet’s orbit by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
A senior space official said, “The spacecraft (Orbiter) was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit at 515 km away from the red planet’s surface and 215 million km away from the earth in radio distance.”
The spacecraft began to insert in the Mars orbit in the early hours at 4:17 am, when it switched over to the medium gain antenna for emitting and receiving radio signals. Finally India reaches Mars!
The main engine was ignited at 7:17 am to enable the spacecraft enter the Martian orbit, after rotating the Orbiter in the direction of Mars at 6:57 am.
When an eclipse occurred on Mars from 7:12 am, during the crucial operation, the 440 Newton liquid apogee motor (LAM) of the main engine started burning at 7:30 am and lasted for 24 minutes till 7:54 am for inserting the spacecraft into the Martian orbit.
The official said, “Radars at the four stations across the US, India, Europe and Australia received the signal confirming the successful insertion of the spacecraft into the Martian orbit.”
This spacecraft consumed nearly about 250 kg of liquid fuel with oxidiser.
At the country’s premier space research organisation, the scientists had test-fired the rocket motor on the Mars Orbiter, that was in slumber since the 300-day journey began, for four seconds on Monday.
On Monday, the orbiter entered within 580,000 km from Mars in a hyperbolic trajectory. After this, the fourth trajectory correction manoeuvre took place and then the main liquid engine was test-fired for 3.968 seconds.
ISRO’s deep space network at Baylalu (about 40 km from Bangalore) was in coordination with the other deep space networks of America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at California in the US, Canberra in Australia and Madrid in Spain, for receiving signals from the spacecraft after its insertion into the Martian orbit.
There are five scientific instruments on board the 475-kg Orbiter that will study the Martian surface and its mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas.
This ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), costing Rs. 450 crore, was launched on November 5, 2013, and on board a polar rocket from the country’s only spacecraft at Sriharikota off the Bay of Bengal.
ISRO, a state-run international space agency, is the fourth to undertake a mission to mars, after NASA of the US, Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA) and European Space Agency.
Five decades ago, India launched its space programme and developed rockets after sanctions were imposed on it for conducting two nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998.
So far, ISRO has successfully launched 40 foreign satellites, where many of them were for developed countries like Britain, Germany, France and Canada.