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India’s Mars Orbiter, Mangalyaan completes 1000 days in orbit

Jun 19, 2017 17:52 IST

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), ISRO’s maiden interplanetary mission completed 1000 Earth days in its orbit on 19 June 2017, well beyond its designed mission life of six months.

This mission was launched on 5 November 2013 by PSLV-C25 and got inserted into the Martian orbit on 24 September 2014 in its very first attempt.  1000 Earth days corresponds to 973.25 Mars Sols (Martian Solar day) and MOM completed 388 orbits.

The feat was praised globally not just for the mission’s success in the first go but also because it came at a fraction of the cost of similar space missions launched by organisations such as NASA and the European Space Agency.

Mangalyaan completes 1000 Earth days in its orbit

Key Highlights 

• The Mangalyaan mission is credited with many laurels including cost-effectiveness, a short period of realisation, economical mass-budget, and miniaturisation of five heterogeneous science payloads.

• According to ISRO, the satellite is still in good health and continues to work as expected

• Scientific analysis of the data received from the Mars Orbiter spacecraft is in progress.

• On January 2017, the Mangalyaan performed a manoeuvre to migrate from its original orbit to avoid a risky 8-hour eclipse that threatened to destroy the satellite by draining it of its reserve battery. 

• The spacecraft’s reserve power source is designed to last only for 1 hour 40 minutes. 

• The Mars Colour Camera, one of the 5 scientific payloads onboard MOM, has produced more than 715 images so far

‘Blackout’ 

The MOM went through a communication 'blackout' as a result of solar conjunction from 2 June 2015 to 2 July 2015. 

MOM was commanded with autonomy features starting from 18 May 2015 that enabled it to survive the communication 'blackout' period without any ground commands or intervention. 

The spacecraft emerged out of 'blackout' period with auto control of the spacecraft systems successfully. 

‘Whiteout’

MOM spacecraft experienced the ‘whiteout’ geometry between 18 May and 30 May 2016. 

A ‘whiteout’ occurs when the Earth is between the Sun and Mars and too much solar radiation may make it impossible to communicate with the Earth. The maximum duration of ‘whiteout’ is around 14 days. 

The entire planning and commanding for the ‘whiteout’ was completed 10 days before the actual event. The spacecraft came out of ‘whiteout’ geometry successfully on 30 May 2016.

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Besides this, ISRO had also launched MOM Announcement of Opportunity (AO) programmes for researchers in the country to enable them to use the data retrieved from the orbiter for research and development purpose. 

Thirty-two proposals were supported under this AO. A planetary data analysis workshop was also conducted to strengthen the MOM-AO scientist's research interest. First-year data from MOM was released to the public on 24 September 2016.

Further, India is planning to return to Mars with Mangalyaan 2.0 and a new mission to Venus that will only happen after 2020.

 



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