Satellites

Mars Orbiter Spacecraft crosses half way mark of its journey

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MUMBAI: India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft crossed the half-way mark of its journey to the ‘Red Planet’ along the designated helio-centric trajectory at 9:50 am on 9 April.

Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was launched onboard PSLV-C25 on 5 November 2013. On 1 December 2013, Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre was conducted successfully and the Spacecraft was set in its course towards Planet Mars through a helio-centric trajectory. Soon after the Spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM) was performed successfully on 11 December 2013.

ISRO has been continuously monitoring the Spacecraft using its Deep Space Network complemented by that of NASA-JPL. As the Spacecraft is on its designated trajectory, the TCM planned for April 2014 is not considered essential. If required, the next TCM is planned to be carried out in June 2014.

Mars Orbiter Spacecraft and its five scientific instruments are in good health. Periodic tests are being done on the different levels of autonomy built into the Spacecraft for managing contingencies.

As of 9 April, the radio distance between the Spacecraft and the Earth is 39 million km. A signal from the Earth to the Spacecraft and back to Earth takes 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Soon, the High Gain Antenna of the Spacecraft will be put in service for handling communications with the ground stations.

The Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre would be performed on 24 September 2014.

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