November 9, 2013

Indian “Mangalyaan” Mission to Mars

 
 On November 5, 2013 India successfully launched the Mars Orbiter Mangalyaan” Mission. The mission probe is due to enter Martian atmosphere on September 21, 2014, in search of methane.
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This video was recorded a couple of days before the November 5, 2013 launch.
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Phys.Org has reported the November 5, 2013 successful launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called “Mangalyaan” (in Sanskrit the "Mars-craft"):
“Indian Mars mission on track, makes first engine burns”
[The PSLV-C25 rocket carrying the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft blasted off from the launch pad at Sriharikota, southwest India, on November 5, 2013.]
India's Mars spacecraft has completed the first of a series of engine firings designed to free it from Earth's gravitational pull and propel it towards the Red Planet, scientists said Friday.
The first "orbit-raising manoeuvre", which involves the firing of a liquid fuel thruster, was performed Thursday followed by the second firing on Friday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
"The second orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 02:18:51 hours (IST) on November 8, with a burn time of 570.6 seconds has been successfully completed," the Bangalore-headquartered ISRO said in a statement
India began the quest to become the first Asian country to reach Mars on Tuesday with the successful launch from its southern space station of a 1.35 tonne unmanned probe, which is strapped to a rocket.
 
As it lacks the power to fly directly to Mars, the probe will orbit Earth for nearly a month and the thruster firings are designed to build up the necessary velocity to break free from our planet's gravitational pull.
 
Only once all six of the engine firing manoeuvres have been successfully completed will it begin the second stage of its nine-month journey to Mars.
 
The main aim of the mission is to detect methane in the Martian atmosphere, which could provide evidence of some sort of life form on the fourth planet from the sun.
 
India has never before attempted inter-planetary travel, and more than half of all missions to Mars have ended in failure, including China's in 2011 and Japan's in 2003.
 
The cost of the project, at 4.5 billion rupees ($73 million), is less than a sixth of the $455 million earmarked for a Mars probe by NASA which will launch later this month.
ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan has called the mission a "turning point" for India's space ambitions and one which would go on to prove the country's capabilities in rocket technology.
Comment
 
The launch is an initial milestone with mission completion on September 21, 2014 when the probe enters Martian atmosphere.
 
Regarding the oft made argument that India shouldn't have a space program while so many Indians  are starving - the annual space program budget is seven hundred million dollars compared to the twenty billion dollars that India will spend this year to provide subsidised food to two out of every three Indians or the $5.3 billion to be spent this year on a rural employment plan http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/11/a-mission-to-mars-on-the-cheap.html
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Pete

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

With a laughably tiny 15kg payload on a highly elliptical orbit, this entire mission is utterly pointless except as theatre to distract the masses, which is exactly what it is.

It was literally only funded to appease the ISRO after their highly respected boss was used as a fall guy for a corruption scandal in the Indian government.

Go search "Madhavan Nair" and see what the former ISRO chief has to say about the Mangalyaan.

Anonymous said...

Mars mission has drawn a blank, says former ISRO chairman

Former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair, who lauded the ISRO team for a perfect PSLV launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission on Tuesday, said the mission had already “drawn a blank” scientifically.

Talking to Express, Nair said the journey to Mars constituted just 30 per cent of the mission, while the scientific objectives constituted the remaining 70 per cent. In the latter part, the ISRO has drawn a blank as it had to settle for a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rather than the more powerful Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) to launch the mission, he said.

“At the outset, let me compliment the ISRO team for the perfect injection into orbit using a PSLV. As usual the PSLV has performed well. But the real journey starts now,” he said, adding that the ISRO has had to compromise so much on the project that it was akin to “cutting the head to fit the hat.”

He also stuck to his earlier stand that the whole mission was nothing more than a publicity stunt. “Initially, the ISRO had planned a dozen or so instruments (aboard the mission), but now it’s just five. Without the GSLV, they have had to jettison most of the instruments. The Methane Sensor is the only one that may prove useful, and in that area too, Nasa has already conducted studies and prepared a methane map. There’s no use at all for us to chase that,” Nair said.

Cost comparisons between Nasa’s own Mars probe MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) and Mangalyaan are ludicrous since the former carried much more instruments and was more sophisticated, and consequently, a costlier venture than the ISRO’s.

According to the former chairman, who is fighting to clear his name in the corruption allegations related to the Antrix-DEVAS S-band deal, the ISRO should instead have focused on Chandrayaan-II and the development of the indigenous cryo stage and the Reusable Launch Vehicle.

Pete said...

Hi Anonymous

One major Indian explanation is:

"If [the mission] succeeds it will serve as a technology demonstrator, boosting Brand India as a whole at a time when the latter has taken some hard knocks. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-06/edit-page/43730993_1_gslv-pslv-isro "

New space programs start out small and careful. National pride over utility. For example the first USSR-Russian astronaut was one-way (a dog) and the Yanks used a chimp.

There's no way India or indeed China would want to develop their space programs as quickly and expensively as the US and USSR-Russia (1950s-70s).

Regards

Pete

fighterclass said...

@anon, you do have a problem with numbers don't you ?
otherwise how does 1337 kg become 'tiny 15 kg' ?

Narayan Abhinn Shrivastava said...

Cost comparisons between Nasa’s own Mars probe MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) and Mangalyaan are ludicrous since the former carried much more instruments and was more sophisticated, and consequently, a costlier venture than the ISRO’s.

Narayan Abhinn Shrivastav

Pete said...

Hi Narayan Abhinn Shrivastava

Yes its true that mission costs cannot be compared. Comparisons are more for political and PR reasons rather than being of scientific or technical value.

Probably what is important is that India's space program can make genuine and tangible achievements - but still within India's financial and technical capacity.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

You Both Narayana Abhinna Srivastava and Pete are right...