Isro successful in raising orbit of Mars spacecraft. Scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Thursday raised the orbit of its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, which was launched on Tuesday.
This was the first in a series of five orbit-raising manoeuvres, which will eventually put the spacecraft on the trajectory towards Mars on December 1. The remaining manoeuvres are scheduled for November 8, 9 11 and 16.
At 1.17am on Thursday, the 440-Newton liquid engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds by commanding it from Spacecraft Control Centre at Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Peenya in Bangalore, said Isro in a statement.
With this engine firing, the spacecraft’s apogee (the point in the orbit of a satellite which is farthest from Earth) has been raised to 28,825km, while its perigee (the orbit’s nearest point to Earth) is at 252km. “The satellite health is fine,” an Isro scientist said.
The Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, India’s first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched on November 5 from Sriharikota into an elliptical earth orbit by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25).
The spacecraft has to go several rounds around Earth to gradually increase its velocity to attain the escape velocity with minimum fuel consumption. Following a 300-day interplanetary phase, the spacecraft will enter the Mars orbit on September 24, 2014. The five payloads on the spacecraft will thereafter perform various scientific experiments.