It is now official. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission is all set to be launched on November 27, 2013, and preparations for the mission are progressing as per schedule.
K. Radhakrishnan displays a brochure highlighting ISRO's 100th mission (AFP, Manjunath Kiran)
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday expressed confidence that it would be able to launch the Rs450 crore mission to the Red Planet in the very first available launch window, which is November 27 next year.
The available launch windows for the Mars mission in this decade are 2013, 2016 and 2018. The years are spread like that taking into consideration the proximity of Mars to Earth when the spacecraft reaches the Red Planet over a 300-day journey. Taking all that into consideration, the space scientists arrived at November 27, 2013 as the best launch window for the Mars Orbiter Mission.
“The orbiter will be launched by the PSLV XL launch vehicle after which its apogee will be increased from 20,000km to 2 Lakh km before it begins its voyage for Mars,” said ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan, while marking it as the space agency’s official announcement on the Mars mission.
It takes about 300 days (nine months) for the Mars probe to reach the Red planet.
Radhakrishnan said the Mars Orbiter will carry nine scientific instruments on board with a scientific objective to study the Martian surface, the planet’s atmosphere and sustainability of life.
He said that during the mission, the space agency would have to face several tests in the form of distance, communication delays, radiation, apart from the crucial challenge in reigniting the engines for insertion into the Martian orbit.
He said the satellite will have a communication delay of 20 minutes because of the distance, which will range between 55 million km to 400 million km.
India will be the sixth country to launch a mission to the Red Planet after the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and China.