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Glitch resolved: India's Mars mission back on track

Posted: 13 Nov 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Mars  mission  Mars Orbiter Spacecraft  Indian Space Research Organisation 

India's first mission to Mars, launched last week on November 5, faced its first problem on Monday, after the thruster engines briefly failed to raise the spacecraft's orbit around Earth by the planned amount.

In the fourth orbit-raising operation conducted on Monday morning, the apogee (farthest point to Earth) of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was raised from 71,623 km to 78,276 km by imparting an incremental velocity of 35m/second (as against 130m/second originally planned to raise apogee to about 100,000 km).

During the fourth orbit-raising operations, the redundancies built-in for the propulsion system were exercised, namely—energising the primary and redundant coils of the solenoid flow control valve of 440 Newton Liquid Engine and logic for thrust augmentation by the attitude control thrusters, when needed.

"However, when both primary and redundant coils were energised together, as one of the planned modes, the flow to the Liquid Engine stopped. The thrust level augmentation logic, as expected, came in and the operation continued using the attitude control thrusters. This sequence resulted in reduction of the incremental velocity," ISRO explained.

India's space agency Indian Space Research Organisation planned a supplementary orbit-raising operation for Tuesday at 0500 hrs IST to raise the apogee to nearly one lakh km.

However, the spacecraft is in "normal health," said ISRO in its statement.

"Mangalyaan" spectacular blastoff
ISRO's Mars Mission is the cheapest by any country to the red planet.
 •  India's journey to Mars begins.

ISRO hopes to raise the orbit to a height of 200,000 km by November 30 to generate the velocity to slingshot the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft towards Mars on December 1.

The Indian spacecraft will travel for almost 300 days, cover 400 million kilometres and finally reach Mars on September 24, 2014. The Mars orbiter will continue to revolve around Earth till November 30, and then the aircraft will begin its journey to Mars.

The 450-crore "Mangalyaan" mission has already made headlines as the cheapest mission to Mars. It should be noted that majority of Mars missions, including China's Yinghuo-1 mission and Japan's Nozomi mission, have failed.

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