Bangalore (ISJ): India's Mangalyaan or Mars Orbiter has created yet another record by reaching the farthest distance in the space by any Indian spacecraft. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has traversed a distance of 5,36,000 km by 17.00 hrs on Monday (Dec. 02) and crossed the Moon's orbit on its way to the Red Planet.
"It (the spacecraft) has crossed the distance to Moon's orbit around Earth,"
said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in an official release.
Cruising at a speed of 32 km per second, the Orbiter is expected to be out of Earth's sphere of influence by Wednesday (Dec. 04), said ISRO officials.
In a critical move on Sunday (Dec. 01), ISRO scientists at the Indian Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore and the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore had successfully hurled the spacecraft out of Earth's gravity to Mar's transfer trajectory, on its 10-month long journey around the Sun.
It will now traverse the distance of about over 200-million-kms to reach the Martian orbit in mid-September, 2014
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.