India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (“MOM”) is now within nine million kilometers of Mars according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (“ISRO”). Yesterday, ISRO announced:
“Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is just nine million km away from Mars and 189 million kilometres away from the Earth. 33 more days to MARS.”
Early this month, ISRO scientists ruled out Trajectory Correction Maneuver originally planned for August as the spacecraft was on track.
MOM was launched into Earth orbit on November 5, 2013. It is expected to enter orbit around Mars on September 24, 2014. The mission is a “technology demonstrator” project aiming to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission. It is India’s first interplanetary mission and, if successful, ISRO will become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency.
MOM’s specific objectives are primarily associated with spacecraft construction and mission operations as MOM serves as a pathfinder, being India’s first mission beyond the Moon. The Indian Space Science Data Center has provided the following Mission Objectives:
- Develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission
- Orbit maneuvers to transfer the spacecraft from an elliptical Earth orbit to a heliocentric trajectory and finally insert it into Mars orbit
- Development of force models and algorithms for orbit and attitude computations and analyses
- Navigation in all mission phases
- Maintain the spacecraft in all phases of the Mission meeting Power, Communications, Thermal and Payload requirements
- Incorporate autonomous features to handle contingency situations
The following scientific Objectives have been set for the Mars Orbiter Mission:
- Study climate, geology, origin and evolution of Mars
- To study sustainability of life on the planet