India becomes first country in world to place spacecraft in Mars' orbit in first attempt

PTI
Published Sep 24, 2014, 4:39 pm IST
Updated Feb 23, 2016, 2:43 pm IST
Elated PM patted back of ISRO chairman, complimented scientists for achieving 'near impossible'
Indian Space Research Organisation scientists watch screens display the graphics explaining Mars Orbiter Mission at their Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network complex in Bangalore (Photo: AP)
 Indian Space Research Organisation scientists watch screens display the graphics explaining Mars Orbiter Mission at their Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network complex in Bangalore (Photo: AP)

Bangalore: India on Wednesday created history by successfully placing its spacecraft in orbit around Mars, becoming the first country in the world to succeed in such an inter-planetary mission in the maiden attempt itself.

At 7.17 am, the 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) sizzled with life as it burnt along with the thrusters to slow down the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft to be captured by the Red Planet.

Read: India creates history: Mangalyaan successfully enters Mars Orbit

 

"MOM has met Mangal," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said announcing the mission's success, after nerve-wracking final moments at the command centre of Indian Space Research Organisation.

Modi, who witnessed the operation along with the space scientists, said the odds were stacked against "us with only 21 of the 51 missions to Mars being successful," but "we have prevailed."

Read: Twitteratis salute ISRO as Mangalyaan successfully enters Mars orbit

An elated Prime Minister patted the back of ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan and complimented the Indian space scientists for making space history.

With the success of "Mangalyaan", India has become the first country in the world to go to Mars in the very first try. European, American and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet, but after several attempts.

Read: Mars missions: Successes and failures

Mars Orbiter Insertion was carried out automatically by commands loaded onto the spacecraft after its velocity was slowed down from 22.1 km per second to 4.4 km per second to be captured by the Martian orbit.

The spacecraft had entered the Martian neighbourhood on Monday.

At the time of MOM's orbital insertion, its signals took about 12 minutes and 28 seconds to travel to Earth for reception by NASA's Deep Space Network Stations in Canberra and Goldstone that relayed the data in real time to ISRO's station here.

Read: The men behind Mangalyaan

The first sign of success in the final moments came when ISRO announced that burn of engines on India's Mars orbiter had been confirmed. "All engines of Mars orbiter are going strong. Burn confirmed," said ISRO signalling that history was in the making.

Igniting the main engine was critical as it had been lying in slumber for about 300 days and was woken up briefly for four seconds on Monday.

India's MOM is the cheapest inter-planetary mission. It cost about a tenth of NASA's Mars mission Maven that entered the Martian orbit on September 22.

Read: PM Narendra Modi hails Mars mission success as ‘historic’

The 1,350 kg spacecraft is equipped with five instruments including a sensor to track methane or marsh gas -- a possible sign of life, a colour camera and a thermal imaging spectrometer to map the surface and mineral wealth of the Red Planet.

US' NASA and its MAVEN team have congratulated ISRO on its Mars arrival, the Indian space agency said. 





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