Bangalore (ISJ): With India?s apex Launch Authorisation Board on Friday (Nov 01) clearing the launch of Mangalyaan or Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), the stage is set for the country?s first interplanetary mission. The Board?s clearance comes after a successful dry run of the ground systems, ahead of its countdown, which begins on Sunday (Nov. 3) at 0608 Hrs.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C25 will lift off the 1,350 kg. spacecraft from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 1428 Hrs on Tuesday. After a 53-minute cruise, the spaceship will be ejected into its trajectory initially around Earth, somewhere over the South Pacific.
A team of engineers and scientists from Indian Science Research Organisation, ISRO, Ocean will monitor the MOM using tracking terminals from two ships in the Pacific. After a 25-day orbit, the spacecraft will be thrust out of the Earth?s pull onto its path towards Mars.
The Orbiter is scheduled to reach the Martian space on September 24, 2014, before going around the Red Planet for at least six months.
ISRO is collaborating with NASA in the mission. NASA?s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is providing communication and navigation support to the mission with their Deep Space Network facilities.
Mars Orbiter Mission is ISRO?s first interplanetary mission to the Red Planet with the spacecraft designed to orbit the planet in an elliptical orbit of 372 km. by 80,000 km. The primary objective of the mission is to showcase India?s technological prowess to design a spacecraft, which can reach Mars (Martian transfer Trajectory) and orbit around the taking about nine months time. Another key technological challenge is to realize deep space mission planning and communication management at a distance of nearly 400 million kms. The Mission will also conduct meaningful experiments to look for signs of life, take pictures of the red planet and study Martian environment.
Simultaneously another spacecraft will also be setting off on a Martian mission ? NASA?s MAVEN or Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution to study on the change of Martian climate, geologic and geochemical conditions over time and understand if Mars had an environment able to support life.
MAVEN will carry eight science instruments that will take measurements of the upper Martian atmosphere during one Earth year, equivalent to about half of a Martian year. It will also dip to an altitude 80 miles above the planet to sample Mars' entire upper atmosphere. The spacecraft may also provide communications relay support for future Landers and rovers on the Martian surface, much as Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have done for the Mars Exploration Rovers and Phoenix.
The payload on India?s Mangalyaan on the other hand is five instruments -- Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP) to measure the loss process of water from the planet, Methane Sensor (MSM), to measure Methane (CH4) in the Martian atmosphere and map its sources; Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA); Mars Colour Camera (MCC) to give images and information about the surface features and composition and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS) to measure the thermal emission.
If ISRO succeeds in its mission to the Red Planet, it will be the fourth organisation after NASA, ESA and Ros�cosmos to reach Mars.