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Mars Orbiter Mission

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called Mangalyaan (Sanskrit: मंगलयान), ("Mars-craft") is a spacecraft orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014 it was Launched Mars Orbiter Mission - MOM (ISRO)on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The mission is a "technology demonstrator" project aiming to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.

The Mars Orbiter Mission probe lifted-off from the First Launch Pad at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV) rocket C25 at 09:08 UTC (2:38 PM IST) on 5 November 2013. The launch window was approximately 20 days long and started on 28 October. The Mars Orbiter Mission is India's first interplanetary mission. If successful, ISRO would become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the RKA, NASA, and ESA

           The government of India approved the project on 3 August 2012, after the Indian Space Research Organisation completed INR125 crore(US$19 million) of required studies for the orbiter. The total project cost may be up to INR454 crore (US$69 million). The space agency had initially planned the launch on 28 October 2013 but was postponed to 5 November 2013 following the inability of ISRO's spacecraft tracking ships to take up pre-determined positions due to poor weather in the Pacific ocean. Launch opportunities for a fuel-saving Hohmann transfer orbit occur about every 26 months, in this case, 2016 and 2018.

Mangalyaan's on-orbit mission life will be between six and ten months. The spacecraft structure and propulsion hardware configurations are similar to Chandrayaan 1, India's first successful robotic lunar orbiter that operated from 2008 to 2009, with specific improvements and upgrades needed for a Mars specific mission. Further details about the spacecraft are scant, but it is expected that its solar panel surface area was increased by a factor of 3 to ensure adequate electrical power can be generated from the lower solar flux available in Mars orbit.

P.Kunhikrishnan was the PSLV-XL spacecraft launch Mission Director. S. K. Shivkumar of ISAC was responsible for the orbiting payload.Mylswamy Annadurai is the Program Director and S.Arunan is the Project Director. S.K. Shivkumar, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre oversees design and development of the orbiter.

Assembly of the PSLV-XL launch vehicle, designated C25, started on 5 August 2013. The integration of the five scientific instruments was completed at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, and the finished spacecraft was shipped to Sriharikotta on 2 October 2013. The satellite's development was fast-tracked and completed in a record 15 months. Despite the US government shutdown, NASA reaffirmed on 5 October 2013 it would provide communications and navigation support to the mission.


The total cost of the mission was approximately INR450 Crore (US$73 million), making it the least-expensive Mars mission to date. The low cost of the mission was ascribed by Kopillil Radhakrishnan, the chairman of ISRO, to various factors, including a "modular approach", a small number of ground tests and long (18-20 hour) working days for scientists. BBC's Jonathan Amos mentioned lower worker costs, home-grown technologies, simpler design, and significantly less complicated payload than NASA's MAVEN. An opinion piece in The Hindu pointed out that the cost was equivalent to less than a single bus ride for each of India's population of 1.2 billion.


The primary objective of the Mars Orbiter Mission is to showcase India's rocket launch systems, spacecraft-building and operations capabilities. Specifically, the primary objective is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission, comprising the following major tasks:

  • Design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
  • Deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management.
  • Incorporate autonomous features to handle contingency situations.

The secondary objective is to explore Mars' surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.


The 15 kg (33 lb) scientific payload consists of five instruments:

Atmospheric studies
  • Lyman-Alpha Photometer (LAP) — a photometer that measures the relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen from Lyman-alpha emissions in the upper atmosphere. Measuring the deuterium/hydrogen ratio will allow the amount of water loss to outer space to be estimated.
  • Methane Sensor For Mars (MSM) — will measure methane in the atmosphere of Mars, if any, and map its sources.
Particle environment studies
  • Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA) — is a quadrupole mass analyzer capable of analyzing the neutral composition of particles in the exosphere.
Surface imaging studies
  • Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS) — will measure the temperature and emissivity of the Martian surface, allowing for the mapping of surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.
  • Mars Color Camera (MCC) — will provide images in the visual spectrum, providing context for the other instruments.


The ISRO used its PSLV-XL (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket to launch the Mars Orbiter Mission. The launch, on 5 November 2013, placed the Mars Orbiter Mission into Earth orbit. Six orbit raising operations will be conducted on November 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 16, by using the craft's on-board propulsion system, which is a derivative of the system used on India's communications satellites. These manoeuvres will raise the orbit to one with an apogee of 23,000 km (14,000 mi) and perigee of 238 km (148 mi), where it will remain for about 25 days. A final firing in 30 November 2013 will send MOM onto an interplanetary trajectory. Mars orbit insertion is planned for 21 September 2014, and would allow the spacecraft to enter a highly elliptical orbit with a period of 76.72 hours and a periapsis of 377 km (234 mi) and apo-apsis of 80,000 km (50,000 mi) around Mars. 


The Indian Space Research Organisation Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network performed navigation and tracking operations for the launch with ground stations at Sriharikota, Port Blair, Brunei and Biak in Indonesia, and after the spacecraft's apogee becomes more than 100 000 km, two large 18-metre and 32-metre diameter antennas of the Indian Deep Space Network will be utilised. NASA's Deep Space Network will provide position data through its three stations located in Canberra, Madrid and Goldstone on the U.S. West Coast during the non-visible period of ISRO's network. Additional monitoring is provided by technicians on board two leased ships from Shipping Corporation of India, SCI Nalanda and SCI Yamuna which are currently in position in the South Pacific near Fiji.

The spacecraft's dry mass is 500 kilograms (1,100 lb), and it will carry 850 kilograms (1,870 lb) of fuel and oxidiser. The main engine uses the bipropellant combination monomethyl hydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide for orbit insertion and other manoeuvres.


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