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India's Mars Orbiter Mission launches successfully

By

November 5, 2013

Tuesday's launch may make India an interplanetary space-faring nation

Tuesday's launch may make India an interplanetary space-faring nation

Image Gallery (10 images)

Today at 2:38 PM IST, India made its bid to join the elite rank of interplanetary space-faring nations with the successful launch of its unmanned Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) from the First Launch Pad at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (IRSO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) on the island of Sriharikota, atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25).

This morning, fueling of the PSLV-C25 rocket was completed and all vehicle systems were switched on for the final countdown at 6:08 AM IST. The Mobile Service Tower was withdrawn, and at 2:24 PM IST, the Mission Director gave the “Go” for launch. At 2:38 PM, the Mars rocket lifted off without a hitch with stage, strap-on rockets, and heat shield separations going as planned.

The fourth stage ignited 33 minutes after the launch at the end of an unusual 27-minute coasting phase. Then, 43 minutes into the launch, the fourth stage shut down and the probe separated from the booster less than one minute later.

MOM orbital profile

There had been concern about the weather because the launch center is prone to high winds, but mission control says that today the weather was cooperative and the launch trajectory of the booster was adjusted to take into account the wind velocity at the site.

The MOM probe is currently in Earth orbit, where it is positioning itself for Mars transfer orbit insertion. Burning a combination of monomethyl hydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide, the main engine will fire a total of six times on on November 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 16 to place it an elliptical parking orbit with an apogee of 23,000 km (14,000 mi) and a perigee of 238 km (148 mi). It will remain there until November 30, when it will fire its engine again to send it on its way to Mars.

Exploded view of the MOM probe

A main concern of the ISRO is to get MOM to Mars using as little fuel as possible by employing a Hohmann transfer orbit. Fans of hard science fiction will recognize this as the orbital maneuver designed to travel from one planet to another using the least amount of propellant. It’s economical, but it did require a lot of patience, as the ISRO waited for Earth and Mars to move into the right positions for launch. This only occurs once every 780 days, so the next available launch window would have been January 2016.

MOM will remain remain in Earth orbit for about 25 days, then a final firing on November 30 will send the probe onto an interplanetary trajectory. Mars orbit insertion is planned for 21 September 2014, when it will go into a highly elliptical orbit with a periapsis of 377 km (234 mi) and apoapsis of 80,000 km (50,000 mi), circling Mars once every 76.72 hours.

Once on station, the MOM probe will carry out a 6 to 10-month survey of the planet’s surface and atmosphere.

Source: ISRO

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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17 Comments

Awesome.. well done India. Other than proving and advancing this technology, will this mission do anything new at Mars? Or will it just be adding to the previous studies of this type?

Simon Sammut
5th November, 2013 @ 04:26 pm PST

Very good - but why are they spending money on a space race, when the majority of the population of India is extremely poor and lack clean water? Should India not fix those problems first and then move on to more fancy things such as putting Indians on Mars? Also many countries are giving India monetary aide... something is not right with this picture...

Jens Kristianson
6th November, 2013 @ 01:23 am PST

India should be taking care of their domestic problems rather than showboating their technical ability. Their PR on this mission is more important to them than any science data they may be able to produce. I doubt they will discover anything new, and I doubt we in the western world will get to know about it. This is nothing more than an extravagant PR stunt.

Richard Unger
6th November, 2013 @ 05:56 am PST

Dear commenting folks here,

A few facts, which you guys wont talk about

1. 2007-08: The Indians invested back 32 Billion Pounds in London alone. So that takes care of the Aid money they have given. Since then

India has been investing steadily.

2. When EU's economy was going down, we as a part of the BRIC nations, gave a bailout package of 10 Billion USD.

3. As far as their aid is concerned, let me correct you, it is not a charity. Besides, we have told them not to send us anymore aid money, but their parliamentarians have forced it on us. Kindly check if they are doing Money laundering of the tax payer money in the name of Aid

money. Really, check that.

4. As far poor people are concerned, well, what do you want us to do? Pay out free doles? so that some lazy poor man gets free money. With

which he is going to drink. And then, when his wife asks him money to support family, this bugger is going to beat her up? And then You

western media guys are going to make a documentary on that? and then people watching it will name call us again?

5. The Indian Mars mission is the cheapest in the world, 75 Million Dollars, and has 40% women members out of its total team members, which by far is largest number of females working on a complex futuristic prestigious scientific project anywhere in the world.

6. you are ok with selling the rape incidences in India as a soft-porn to the world? But, who are you and what is your technical expertise and qualification to comment on what India should and should not do?

7. Kindly stop calling it a Government's ego boosting project, because, these projects are controlled and authorized by Department of Space

and ANTRIX corporation. Which do not run by Govt's policies. They act independently based on the profits generated by them from the launching of satellites they do for other nations.

So if you appreciate that, we welcome you with open arms. else, its not a problem.

Courtesy: Mr. Sai Kiran Sharma

tonympaul
6th November, 2013 @ 07:28 am PST

Similar comments were posted when India sent mission to moon... but India made critique silent by discovering water on moon, something which NASA wasn't able to do in spite of several earlier missions. You don't take it as PR stunt, we mean business

And if anybody thinking about missions economic burden and poverty in developing country like India, let me tell you that cost of Mars missions is just peanuts for India. Mars mission is costing India $73 million while Indian parliament has recently passed a food security bill giving FREE MEAL to millions of people with a sanctioned budget of $4 billion every year.

Being tenth-largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP), India can easily afford such expenses.

Let me give you a heads up that India is sending next missions to Venus and Sun followed by a sending manned mission to land on moon by 2020. Stay tuned...

Bharatlogic
6th November, 2013 @ 08:26 am PST

Great...another country with millions of starving people that they cannot even feed, but capable of spending billions on an orbiter program!

A4Driver
6th November, 2013 @ 08:47 am PST

"The greatest gain from space travel consists in the extension of our knowledge. In a hundred years this newly won knowledge will pay huge and unexpected dividends."

- Professor Werner von Braun

Bob Thefirst
6th November, 2013 @ 09:22 am PST

"India was once one of the poorest nations on earth therefor it must not have a space program until the first world agrees that they have taken care of their poor to the extent that they have destroyed their economy to the same extent that the first world has destroyed theirs." This is bullcookie.

Go India.

ps. What is your immigration policy, and will I have to learn a language other than English?

Slowburn
6th November, 2013 @ 11:05 am PST

Congrats India. Job well done. Use technology for betterment of humanity. Don't worry about the negativity. People who lives in glass houses do not throw rocks at others. One more time congrats India.

amc747
6th November, 2013 @ 11:24 am PST

India's chandaryaan found water proof on moon & Mangalyaan (MOM) on the way to test methane on Mars. since rover & curiosity fail to say Yes or No about methane on mars.

Facebook User
6th November, 2013 @ 12:17 pm PST

75 million would barely cover the coffee breaks for a US or UK Mars mission.

Brian Hall
6th November, 2013 @ 04:09 pm PST

Science does welcome you India. You are on your way to do that the others before you have overlooked. I congratulate you on behalf of the humanitarian world. Let the dark souls that try to belittle you live on their welfare doles and keep up the good work. You have done more for mankind than others could imagine. Just look at the great doctors you have given the medical fields.

Help the Children Foundation
6th November, 2013 @ 04:17 pm PST

Hi,

First I thank David Szondy for placing our Indian MOM Mission in gizmag. Am a fan of Gizmag Since 2008, Gizmag provides me lot of New technologies and News. Its a moment We very much Proud to be Indian for Sending Satellite to Mars in very small budget among global race towards mars mission.

My answer to the person who asking us to take care of our Needy peoples. Our Nation is big as well as the population is also big, we constantly working on eradicate poverty and provide good life style for our peoples, same time we developing missions which supports future exploration.

Udhaya
6th November, 2013 @ 11:08 pm PST

If tonympaul is correct, then India did not launch MOM anymore than the U.S. made the Tesla.

We have to stop thinking of political boundaries as defining a populace. I have lived in the US for 71 years and do not accept any responsibility for this political mess or past messes. I do not think of the US as my country anymore than I consider myself a citizen. I am a sovereign individual. I owe no allegiance to anyone.

Don Duncan
7th November, 2013 @ 02:28 pm PST

Let us not link welfare programs with space programs. They are different.

The reason for poverty is due to high income disparities, crony capitalism, corruption and poor governance. If the argument that one has to engage in any scientific space initiatives only after solving all their national problems, then even US and Russia can't do so. U.S owes $ 1.3 trillion to China in treasury bonds. They have to first clear the slums and improve the pathetic conditions in which people live in states like Louisiana. Similarly, one may argue that Russians needs to ensure food and ration to all their deprived citizens. This kind of argument is not correct. Several technologies developed as an offshoot of space programs have contributed in raising the standards of living of people around the world. U.S, Russia and other nations including India should be congratulated for this. I appreciate the pointed reply of .tonympaul.

K.V.Gopalakrishnan
8th November, 2013 @ 09:27 pm PST

The space industry combined with allied industries provides jobs to atleast thousands of people, and solution to poverty is job creation in anyway possible like this or green technology, thus everything is beneficial and pays for itself.

Allied industries will include metallurgy, heavy metal industries, communications, optics, rocketry, security and sensors technology, and research centres. These projects provide jobs and reduce poverty and job creation is the only long term sustainable solution to poverty. So all other arguments are false.

Dawar Saify
11th November, 2013 @ 03:43 pm PST

The comments on India's disparities are old school , India everyone knows is now a major player in earths wealth of human and collective agriculture . If anything they should be given any knowledge or technology to advance mankind's Mars missions .

Bravo India , show us the way .

Gianfranco Fronzi
2nd December, 2013 @ 09:13 pm PST
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