26 Sep 2014

India makes a mark in Mars


  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists and engineers watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi on screens after the success of Mars Orbiter Mission, in Bangalore on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.
    Reuters Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists and engineers watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi on screens after the success of Mars Orbiter Mission, in Bangalore on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.
  • ISRO scientists celebrate the success of Mars Orbiter Mission at their Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network complex in Bangalore.
    AP ISRO scientists celebrate the success of Mars Orbiter Mission at their Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network complex in Bangalore.
  • A screen grab of Mr. Modi addressing the scientists after news of success of the Mission
    A screen grab of Mr. Modi addressing the scientists after news of success of the Mission
  • Indian Space Research Organisation scientists and other officials cheer as they celebrate the success of Mars Orbiter Mission at their Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network complex in Bangalore on, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014.
    AP Indian Space Research Organisation scientists and other officials cheer as they celebrate the success of Mars Orbiter Mission at their Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network complex in Bangalore on, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014.
  • Scene at the ISTRAC Mission Analysis Centre, Bangalore. Photo: Madhumati
    The Hindu Scene at the ISTRAC Mission Analysis Centre, Bangalore. Photo: Madhumati
ISRO's Mars orbiter becomes first spacecraft to enter Martian orbit in maiden attempt
From 'Congratulations ISRO' to 'Howdy Curiosity' here's how India's Mars Mission scored big on Twitter.
15.02: Nimisha (@nim2391); Bhakt Repeller (@BhaktRepeller); Sherin Johnson (@i_sherin) ask how is the Mars Mission going to impact common man's life.
Executing an interplanetary mission is no simple feat. Being able to do it provides the impetus for more investment in space research as well as could herald an uptick in foreign investment. Expansion of spacefaring capabilities means development of better launch systems to launch more sophisticated scientific payloads, as well as, in the long run, giving India a foot in the door when it comes to hardcore interplanetary exploration and colonization, far though in the future that may be.
14:59: Many Bollywood stars took to Twitter to congratulate ISRO on its historic feat. Read here
14:56: Question from Facebook follower Dharmateja Challa: Will the data will be made public ? It would be great if they do so for scientific community?
Depends on institutional plans for the data because each instrument on the payload has been designed and manufactured by different institutions around India, led by various scientists. If the corresponding institute has plans to release data, then sure.
14.50: Mr. Mallikarjuna Konduri (@elKondorPasa) asks: will ISRO use rest of fuel for gaining a stabler orbit and extend the mission period?
Mission period doesn't depend on orbit stability as far as extension is concerned.
13: 30: Facebook follower Gautam Reddy: Now that ISRO is competing on par with it's contemporaries, Is ISRO having any plans for a Space Station?
There are no known plans for a space station. That would be too ambitious considering the kind of resources such an installation requires.
11.57: Satheesh Sellam (@SatheeshSellam) asked us this question: If we have successful cryo GSLV vehicle, the complexity of taking the satellite out of earth gravity is considered less?
We've had one successful test of the cryogenic engine. It's too soon to say how future missions will pan out, although that one test was encouraging. Also, having such an engine doesn't make it easier in the general sense but gives us the ability to launch heavier - and therefore more sophisticated - payloads into orbit, especially the geostationary transfer orbit.
11.36: Vaibhav Pratap Singh (@NooseVP) had posted a question on Twitter to us asking the difference between ISRO's Mars orbiter and NASA's Maven. Here's the answer:
There are some overlaps in terms of MAVEN's and MOM's objectives. Both are equipped with instruments that will provide a clearer picture of the Martian atmosphere. The Curiosity rover's next phase of operations includes investigating the possible presence of life in Mars' history and this means finding signs of water by looking for minerals that could have formed only in the presence of water. MAVEN will assist in this by looking for isotopic signatures, which is something MOM will do as well. The reason both probes are there right now is because of a certain window that comes once in 26 months that reduces the distance between Earth and Mars, making it a good opportunity to launch probes in this window.
10.45: "The periapsis achieved was 427 km and the apoapsis was 78,500 km. The final values will be obtained after several hours," Mission Director, MOM, V. Kesava Raju says. Read here
10.15:
10.10: Watch: India scripts history with Mars Mission
10.06: India’s first rocket launch pad, the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station, Thumba, Kerala, was in a coconut plantation. A local church served as main office, the bishop’s house was converted into a workshop and a cattleshed the research lab! Surely, we’ve come a long way!
10.00: Mars Orbiter Mission: Timeline of events
9. 34: Home Minister Rajnath Singh wishes Team ISRO
9. 20: Now that it’s delivered a payload into orbit around a neighboring planet, the Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, has convinced the world it can also plan and execute long-term missions and the associated logistical nightmares. Read In Depth aticle about the mission
8.47:
8.36: PM Modi concludes his speech with quote from Tagore.
8.35: This achievement is far greater than a cricket win: PM Modi
A screen grab of Mr. Modi addressing the scientists after news of success of the Mission
8.33: India is now the first country to succeed at a Mars Mission in the first attempt & cheapest cost: PM
8.29: Modern India must continue. Through your achievements, you have honoured our fore-fathers, and inspired our future generations: PM Modi
8. 28:
8.23: Our efforts have historically focussed on ultimate objective of nation-building: PM Modi
8.22: Through your achievements, you have honoured our fore-fathers, and inspired our future generations: PM Modi
8.13:
8: 12:
8.05: PM Modi felicitates the scientists. "Scientists have gone beyond the boundaries of humar enterprise."
7.59: Occultation over. Mars Mission successful, ISRO Chairman confirms.
7: 53:
7.48: The firing must have been completed by now and MOM must be turning towards Earth to resume communication.
7.46: The spacecraft is now out of range of radio signals. It has gone behind Mars, in what is called as occultation/eclipse.Occultation is loss of signal due to the orbiter being on the 'dark side' of Mars.
7.38: In about half hour, ISRO is expected to get the first confirmation from NASA's ground station in Canberra, Australia.
7.31: All engines of the Mars orbiter are going strong. Burn start confirmed. Scientific community celebrate the confirmation message.
7.17: Burn must have started. All engines must have started firing by now. Stand by for confirmation. The LAM and the eight thrusters will fire together for 24 minutes to perform the MOM’s most crucial manoeuvre called Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) to lower India’s spacecraft into the Martian orbit, with a peri-apsis of 423 km and an apo-apsis of 80,000 km. The manoeuvre will end at 7.41 a.m.
ISRO Chairman Dr. Radhakrishnan and Director and chariman of Spacecraft Authorisation Board Kiran Kumar waiting for confirmation of the Burn.
7.16: Mars Orbiter is now in the shadow of Mars.
7.12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at ISRO to witness the historic event. ISRO Chairman Dr. K. Radhakrishnan welcomes the PM
7.11: Mars Orbiter start of forward rotation is confirmed: ISRO
7.08: The Liquid Engine Burn is set to begin in a few minutes now.
7.02: Here's all you need to know about the Mars Orbiter Mission
6.56: Forward rotation must have begun, ISRO says. It is required to align the direction of firing for effective braking. Confirmation will reach after 12.5 minutes.
6.50: ISRO Chairman, in an exlcusive interview to The Hindu, talks about the agency's Plan A and Plan B for MOI. Read here
6.43: The result of Mars Orbit Insertion will be available only at about 8:30 a.m.
6.35: The orbiter’s propulsion system, called the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), will erupt into life at 7.17 a.m. after remaining dormant for 300 days during the spacecraft’s journey to the Red Planet.
6.31:
(Image courtesy: ISRO)
6.24: An exclusive interview with ISRO Chairman Dr. K. Radhakrishnan ahead of the MOI manoeuvre.
6.19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Bangalore late Tuesday and is expected to stay in the ISTRAC complex till 9 a.m. and address Team ISRO.
6.15: Will India be able to lower its spacecraft into the Martian orbit in its debut attempt? The answer will be available around 8.15 a.m. today.

India keeps historic date with Mars


  • Scientists at Bangalore ISRO cheering India's historic achievement. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
    The Hindu Scientists at Bangalore ISRO cheering India's historic achievement. Photo: K. Murali Kumar 
     
  • Scene at the ISTRAC Mission Analysis Centre, Bangalore. Photo: Madhumathi D.S.
    The Hindu Scene at the ISTRAC Mission Analysis Centre, Bangalore. Photo: Madhumathi D.S.

Mangalyaan cost $74 million, making it the world's cheapest interplanetary mission

Everyone sat glued to their seats, anxious and tense at the Mission Operations Complex-2 (MOX-2), the nerve entre of India’s Mars mission on Wednesday morning. There was just one question on everybody’s mind: will it happen?
The answer came through Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan’s intercom. Mission Director V. Kesava Raju had given the thumbs up. The Chairman nodded calmly, went up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and spoke a few words. A jubilant Mr. Modi hugged him, raised a fist and patted him on the back.
The gesture made it official. At 7.59 a.m., India had accomplished a gigantic feat of putting a spacecraft in orbit around Mars in its first attempt.
Around 150 ISRO engineers at MOX-2 and the neighbouring Mission Analysis Centre (MOX-1), where the media waited, broke into applause. “MOM successfully enters Martian orbit,” ISRO flashed on its monitors.
Dr. Radhakrishnan later told The Hindu, “We have done our best. India is great.”
The tryst with the Red Planet came 10 months after the ISRO launched its first orbiter to Mars on November 5 last year. But the final critical moment was at 7.17 a.m., when the main Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) and the eight small thrusters on the orbiter ignited simultaneously and enabled the crucial manoeuvre.
All the engines fired flawlessly for 24 minutes and reduced the spacecraft’s velocity by 1.09 km per second; this contained the spacecraft in an orbit around Mars.
Praise for feat
Mr. Modi commended the ISRO scientists on “their incredible” feat. “MOM has met Mars. India has successfully reached Mars. History has been created today. We have reached the unknown and achieved the impossible,” he exulted.
“I am living my dream,” said MOM Project Director S. Arunan. Mr. Kesavara Raju called it “a great achievement for the country.”
The former Soviet Union and the U.S, who began their Mars pursuits in the 1960s, as well as Japan and China, failed in their first attempt to put their spacecraft into Martian orbit. The US Mariner-3 failed in 1964 and the Japanese Nozomi did not make it in 1998. Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission, with a Chinese payload, failed in 2011. 

Curtsey with: THE HINDU 

MOM gets clicking before work


In this photo downloaded off Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal Twitter handle @narendramodi, Isro chief K. Radhakrishnan and his team presents the first picture of Mars sent by the Mars Orbiter Mission.
In this photo downloaded off Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal Twitter handle @narendramodi, Isro chief K. Radhakrishnan and his team presents the first picture of Mars sent by the Mars Orbiter Mission.
 First images presented to Prime Minister
ISRO’s Mars orbiter has sent down first-day pictures that show the grainy orange Martian terrain. The space agency on Thursday unveiled two of the first five pictures taken by the Mars colour camera. Some more pictures are to be made public on Friday.
Within the first half-hour of going round Mars, the orbiter clicked five pictures each taken five minutes apart. They were received and processed till late night at the Indian Space Science Data Centre for planetary studies at Byalalu near here.
ISRO scientists presented the first images to Prime Minister on Thursday morning before putting them out — notably first on Twitter.
The first image shows a Martian surface with a black patch taken from a distance of 7,300 km. The second one, distance unmentioned, was also on Twitter by evening and has a part of the orange orb in the background of deep black space.
“1st image of Mars, from a height of 7300 km; with 376m spatial resolution. MT @MarsOrbiter The view is nice up here,” ISRO tweeted.
To this, Mr. Modi responded, “Yes, I agree @MarsOrbiter, the view is indeed nice up there! @isro.”
ISRO’s Scientific Secretary V. Koteswara Rao said over the next seven to 10 days, “we will plan [when] to switch on the [other four] payloads. We are checking the health of the orbiter.” They include the methane sensor for Mars, which is expected to say if Mars ever harboured life.
After the big move of September 24, “35 kg of fuel is left in the orbiter and it should be comfortable for six months,” which is the planned life of the Mars Orbiter Mission, he said.
Post-orbit, the Mars mission team has been collating data from the four ground stations and maintaining the elliptical path, which is 423 km from Mars at the nearest point and 76,000 km at the farther end of the path.
Every three days, the orbiter gets eclipsed and briefly goes without sunlight. The mission team must ensure unhindered operations at that time, an official said. 

Curtsey with: THE HINDU