Mars Orbiter Mission Explained in 4 minutes
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully placed the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan in its final orbit around Mars on 24th September. Newsclick uses ISRO's material to explain what this 653 million kilometer long journey was all about and what are ISRO's objectives for the Mission.
On 24th of September, India's Mars Orbiter Mission or Mangalyaan has been successfully parked in an orbit around Mars. This started on 5th November 2013 and after a long journey, has been positioned with a certain set of manoeuvres. This is the trajectory the Mars Orbiter Mission was following, it would have flown past Mars if it had gone in the same trajectory. What the manoeuvres that took place on 24th did, was essentially to move the Orbiter so that it would face in a certain direction; then the engine burns took place for about 24 minutes to slow down the Mars Orbiter, so that it could be captured by Mars gravity, and then continue to circle around Mars. If the same velocity had to be maintained with which it was approaching Mars, then it would have flown past Mars. So this was the essential manoeuvre today, slowing down the Mars Orbiter so that its velocity would be much less than the escape velocity, with which it was going past Mars and then, it could be captured by Mars gravity. The Mars Orbiter Mission started with what is called India's PSLV Programme where PSLV is a launch vehicle which is the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and this was launched on 5th November 2013. This is the successful launch that took place and then it moved into what is called the Geo Centric Orbit, that means, it's an earth centric orbit. This orbiter was then circling around in a very elliptic orbit around earth, this is the Geo Centric Orbit. This is the orbit that we see here, as you can see, this was elliptic... there's a set of elliptic orbits, so the set of elliptic orbits are there because from the inner most orbit, the satellite was raised by a successive set of engine burns by which the height of the orbit was increased, it became more and more elliptic. In the process, it also gained velocity, so we added velocity till it reached the escape velocity from earth, and then, was captured at that point by the sun's gravity. And therefore, it then went into, what is called, a Helio Centric Orbit or an orbit which centers around the sun. So this is the second phase of the Mars Orbiter Mission by which, it was transferred from the Geo Centric Orbit to a Helio Centric or a sun centric orbit. So this was really the second phase, this is the set of manoeuvres which was done 300 days before and it meant that this, then was on that course to rendezvous with Mars. At that point of time when these orbits were being raised, Mars was here. Now Mars has travelled this distance to be roughly here by 24th of September and so, the orbiter also had to travel around this path and this is the space craft trajectory, as we can see, and this also rendezvous around that same point near Mars after 300 days. So the real trick was, how after 300 days, a new set of manoeuvres could be done. In the midst of this, we have done a few course corrections, there were two more engines, small corrections that we had to make engine burns that we had done but the main engine, which is the Liquid Apogee Motors that this is called, these were actually sleepy for 300 days. On 22nd of September, they had a test burn of about 4 seconds and on 24th of September, at 24 minute burn was required to essentially reduce the velocity of the Mars Obiter, so that it could be captured by Mars gravity and then circle around Mars. Now this is also around...in a very elliptic orbit around Mars and this orbit, at its closest point, is something like 420 odd kilometers, and its highest is about 80,000 kilometers away from Mars. So this is essentially the manoeuvre that was carried on till 24th September. This is all for today. Keep watching Newsclick for further updates on India's Mars Mission.
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