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India creates history: Mangalyaan successfully enters Mars Orbit

Bengaluru: India created history with its maiden Mars mission – Mangalyaan or MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) successfully injected into the Martian orbit on Wednesday. ISRO became the fourth space agency in the world and first in Asia to successfully launch and execute an interplanetary mission to Mars after the Soviets, NASA and the European Space Agency.

Launched on November 5, 2013 onboard PSLV-C25 from Satish Dhawan Space Center, SHAR, Sriharikota in costal Andhra Pradesh. The spacecraft entered the red planet’s orbit on September 24, 2014. The insertion was conducted by the Spacecraft Control Centre at the agency’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) based in Peenya, Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu.

Here are the highlights:

08:02 AM: Happy faces can be seen, scientists and mission control officers congratulate each other for the successful Insertion of Mangalyaan into the Martian Orbit

08:00 AM: The occultation of the Mangalyaan spacecraft is successfully over, Medium Gain Antenna has now faced Earth and confirmed!

07:59 AM: We are into the 27th Minute of the occultation of the Mangalyaan spacecraft, eagerly awaiting the Medium Gain Antenna to face Earth. When the spacecraft is in burn-on the Medium Gain Antenna is not facing the Earth

07:54 AM: Less than one minute left for the end of burn out

07:51 AM: Occultation is now behind us! Telemetry must have activated. Allow it another tense 12.5 minutes.

07:50 AM: We are into 21 minutes left for the confirmation of the complete of occultation of Mangalyaan

Tense moments at the ISRO Center

07:44 AM: The firing must have been completed by now and Mangalyaan must be turning towards Earth to resume communication, yes confirmation only after 6.25 minutes

07:36 AM: 14 minutes left to complete the eclipse of Mangalyaan

07:31 AM: All engines of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) are going strong. Burn start has been confirmed

07:30 AM: The MOM has been eclipsed by the red planet Mars, the spacecraft is being now operated on the Lethium-ion battery

07:25 AM: The Mangalyaan Spacecraft is going after Mars! Fingrrs crossed, confirmation after 12.5 minutes

07:23 AM: Less than 5 minutes left for ignition of the LAM Engines

07:18 AM: Burn must have started. All engines must have started firing by now. confirmation will be after 12.5 minutes

07:14 AM: Mangalyaan is now in the shadow of Mars.

07:11 AM: Start of forward rotation is confirmed

07:08 AM: Forward Rotation must have begun, it is required to align the direction of firing for effective braking.

Do You Know?: The success rate of Mars Missions have been 46%

Do You Know?: It takes almost 12.5 minutes to complete one circle communication with Mangalyaan!

04:49 AM: Medium Gain Antenna takes over/ After the launch of Mangalyaan, the orbit insertion will be the fourth stage of the mission after six Orbit raising manoeuvres, trans-Mars injection and three Trajectory corrections.

Narendra Modi speech highlights:

  • MOM has been united with Mars. MOM never disappoints: PM after Mangalyaan enters Mars orbit
  • History has been created today. I congratulate all scientists and all my fellow countrymen on this historic mission.
  • We have gone beyond the boundaries of human imagination by travelling more than 650 million kms
  • The odds were stacked against us. Of the 51 missions, attempted across the world so far, a mere 21 had succeeded. But we have prevailed.
  • India is the only country to have succeeded in such a mission in its very first attempt.
  • We put together spacecraft in record time within a mere three years.
  • These are all accomplishments that will go down as landmarks, in history.
  • If we fail, we are subjected to criticism, but if we succeed, we are subjected to jealousy.
  • Humanity would not have progressed if we had not taken such leaps into the unknown and space is the biggest unknown out there.
  • Our ISRO scientists have made it a habit of achieving the impossible with their sheer hard work.
  • The success of our space program is a shining example of our achievement & what we are capable of.
    You have inspired our future generation. Despite our many limitations, we aspired for the best. The success of our space programme has been an example of our achievement: PM Modi to ISRO scientists.
  • ISRO joins an elite group of only three other agencies worldwide to have successfully reached the red planet.
  • Through your achievements, you have honoured our fore-fathers: PM Modi to ISRO scientists
  • Modern India must continue, playing a leading of ‘Jagad-guru Bharat’
  • Atal ji's vision, had inspired us, to reach for the moon. The successful Chandrayan mission, in turn led, to the Mars Orbiter Mission
  • Let us set ourselves on more challenging goals
  • Let today’s success, drive us with even greater vigour, and conviction
  • If a cricket team wins a tournament, nation celebrates; our scientists’ achievement is much greater
  • I appeal to schools to spare five minutes to applaud our scientists today
  • Quoting Rabindranath Tagore in his speech PM Modi concludes his speech
What was the significance of the test firing of main liquid engine on 22nd September?

The test fire of the main liquid engine for 4 seconds (3.968 seconds) was to lower the spacecraft's Periapsis altitude (spacecraft is closest to Mars) to 515 kilometres and to optimise the Mars Orbit Insertion and the resulting elliptical orbit around the red planet.

What is Mars Orbit Insertion?

Mars Orbit Insertion (Photo Credit: ISRO)

The point at which Mangalyaan arrived at the Martian Sphere of Influence, (picture below) which is approximately 5,73,473 km from the surface of Mars, the ISRO centers will command the space craft to fire on the main liquid engine which was test fired on Monday to slow down the spacecraft. Ignition of the Liquid Apogee Motor will take place and this Mars Orbit Insertion burn is planned for the duration of 24.23, slowing the spacecraft down by 1,098.7 m / sec and an altitude of 515 kms from the red planet.

Martian Sphere of Influence (Photo Credit: ISRO)

At the time the spacecraft reaches the closest approach to Mars (Periapsis), and it is captured into planned orbit around Mars. The spacecraft is being targeted in an insertion orbit of 423 by 80,000 Kms at an inclination of 150 degrees with an orbital period of more than three days.

PLAN B: What if the engines fail to fire?

Just if in case the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) is not ignited, Mangalyaan is smartly programmed to react accordingly to acquire a stable orbit around Mars. Here is how it will work. MOM will automatically switch to the 22-Newton thrusters to supply the required delta-v as possible. This will increase propellant consumption and leave MOM in a higher orbit.

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