Bangalore (ISJ): Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO scientists conducted the first orbit-raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft early on Thursday (Nov. 07), when the 440 Newton Liquid Engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds by commanding it from Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore in southern India. With it, the spacecraft's apogee (farthest point to Earth) has been raised to 28,825 km, while its perigee (nearest point to Earth) is at 252 km.
India's first interplanetary spacecraft was launched on Tuesday (Nov. 05) into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) in its twenty fifth flight.
According to ISRO officials, all systems onboard the spacecraft are functioning normally. The orbit raising maneuvers using the 440 Newton Liquid Engine are planned in the coming few days, before the spacecraft is put on Mars Transfer Trajectory on December 01, 2013. This enables the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of Mars in September 2014 after a 300 day journey in deep space. Once in the vicinity of the Red Planet, the 440 Newton Liquid Engine will be fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into its orbit.
With the launch of Mars Orbiter Mission, India entered the select six-nation club of spacefaring countries ? USA, European Union, Russia, China and Japan. Only USA, European Union and Russia have succeeded in their missions. Only 21 out of a total of 51 missions to the Red Planet by these five countries have been successful.
India's Mars Mission ? Mangalyaan is unique in several ways. It is the most cost effective mission ? just 70 million US dollars, as against 2.5 billion US dollar Curiosity Mission by NASA of United States. The credit for putting together a spacecraft fitted with five solar-powered instruments to Martian orbit goes to the innovations and improvisation of technology by Indian space scientists and engineers.
MOM's twin objectives include showcasing India's capability to go beyond Earth's orbit and its affordability of commercial satellite-launching services. The second objective is to conduct meaningful experiments to look for signs of life and study the Martian environment. The launch follows India's successful unmanned mission to the Moon ? Chandrayaan-1 in October 2008. Chandrayaan had sent back evidence of presence of water for the first time.