Mars Orbiter Mission is India’s first interplanetary mission to planet Mars with an orbiter craft designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical orbit. The Mission is primarily technological mission considering the critical mission operations and stringent requirements on propulsion and other bus systems of spacecraft. It has been configured to carry out observation of physical features of mars and carry out limited study of Martian atmosphere.
ISRO’s Mars orbiter (Image Credit:ISRO)
Indians are obsessed about mileage, and ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is no exception. The Mars Orbiter Mission will continue to orbit the distant red planet for ‘many years’, confirmed Dr. Kiran Kumar, the chairman of ISRO. He informed that while the mission was earlier designed to last for 6 months, an extension of 6 months was sanctioned.
The ‘Mangalyaan’, as it’s called, has about 45 Kg of fuel left and the orbiter is hardly using any fuel as of now. The spacecraft got eclipsed by Sun for about 15 days to suffer a total blackout period till 22nd June. It made a successful contact with the base station after coming out of eclipse and ISRO team believes that the spacecraft can now operate for a long time. The next similar blackout period is expected 2.5 years later.
ISRO engineers had earlier estimated a time frame of about 6 months for the mission. The MOM was designed to overcome any difficulties that it’d encounter before reaching to its final destination. In those cases, the MOM would have used more fuel. However, every stage of the mars orbiter mission was smooth and no extra fuel was required. This led to the Mangalyaan saving a lot of fuel.
The Mangalyaan had no failures or any unexpected incidences and the team was able to save the fuel right from the launch till its final orbiting destination. With about 45 Kg of fuel left, the orbiter can last for ‘many years’, said Dr. Kiran Kumar.