In a "new and complex mission design", ISRO's PSLV C 25 successfully injected the 1,350-kg 'Mangalyaan' Orbiter ('Mars craft' in Hindi) into the orbit around Earth some 44 minutes after a text book launch at 2.38 PM from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, marking the successful completion of the first stage of the Rs 450 crore mission.
     
Entering a new frontier in space technology, Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO)'s mission is aimed at establishing India's capability to reach the Red Planet and would focus on looking for presence of methane, an indicator of life there.
     
"The PSLV C25 vehicle has placed the Mars Orbiter spacecraft very precisely into an elliptical orbit around Earth," ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan said after the launch.
     
This is the 25th flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV) and "it has been a new and complex mission design to ensure that we would be able to move the MARS Orbiter spacecraft from the orbit of Earth to the orbit of MARS with minimum energy," he said from Mission Control Room.
     
After going around Earth for 25 days in an elliptical orbit (perigee of 250 km and apogee of 23,500 km), the golden coloured probe, the size of a small car, would embark on a 10-month long voyage to Mars around 12.42 AM on December 1.
     
It is expected to reach the Red Planet's orbit by September 24 next and go around in an elliptical orbit (periapsis of 366 km and apo-apsis of 80,000 km).
     
"I am happy to say the spacecraft is in good health. It has done a task what had to be done," a visibly relieved and happy Radhakrishnan told reporters.
     
The rocket injected the satellite into Earth's orbit over South America, which was captured by ISRO's sea-borne terminals on board Shipping Corporation of India's vessels SCI Nalanda and SCI Yamuna in the South Pacific Ocean.
     
There was a data break of over 10 minutes as expected after burn-out of the third stage and the Mission Control Centre got signals on ignition of the fourth stage.
     
"The biggest challenge will be precisely navigating the spacecraft to Mars," said Radhakrishnan, adding, "We will know if we pass our examination on Sept. 24, 2014."
      
The robotic satellite, which is undertaking the over 200-million-km long journey to Mars, is equipped with five instruments, including a sensor to track methane or marsh gas - a possible sign of life - on Mars.
      
If all goes well and the satellite orbits the Red Planet, ISRO will become the fourth in the world after those of the US, Russia and Europe to undertake a successful Mars mission. The Mars missions of China and Japan have failed.

India’s mission to Mars at a glance

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, the country’s first interplanetary foray, is billed as a pathfinder to test technologies to fly to orbit and communicate from the Red Planet. It follows India’s successful 2008-2009 Chandrayaan-1 moon probe, which discovered water molecules in the lunar soil.

Here are some facts about the project:

•    One of the objectives is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.

•    The mission aims to explore Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and search for methane in the Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.

•    Payloads on the satellite include instruments for studying the atmosphere, particle environment and surface imaging. These include the Lyman Alpha Photometer, a methane sensor, a composition analyser, a camera and an imaging spectrometer.

•    The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will launch the 1,337 kg Mars Orbiter satellite as part of its 25th mission.

•    The satellite is scheduled to reach the Mars orbit in September 2014 and is designed to circle the Red Planet in an elliptical orbit of 366 km X 80,000 km.

•    The total cost of the Mars mission is USD 73 million.

(JPN/Agencies)

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India’s mission to Mars at a glance

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, the country’s first interplanetary foray, is billed as a pathfinder to test technologies to fly to orbit and communicate from the Red Planet. It follows India’s successful 2008-2009 Chandrayaan-1 moon probe, which discovered water molecules in the lunar soil.

Here are some facts about the project:

·         One of the objectives is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.

·         The mission aims to explore Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and search for methane in the Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.

·         Payloads on the satellite include instruments for studying the atmosphere, particle environment and surface imaging. These include the Lyman Alpha Photometer, a methane sensor, a composition analyser, a camera and an imaging spectrometer.

·         The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will launch the 1,337 kg Mars Orbiter satellite as part of its 25th mission.

·         The satellite is scheduled to reach the Mars orbit in September 2014 and is designed to circle the Red Planet in an elliptical orbit of 366 km X 80,000 km.

·         The total cost of the Mars mission is USD 73 million.

 

US Ambassador to witness Mars mission launch

US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell will witness the launch of the Mars mission from Sriharikota.

Soon after arrival in Chennai, she left for the spaceport, about 100 km from here.