Mangalyaan, India’s prestigious Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has entered its 100th orbit around Mars that will take slightly more than 3 days and finish by Thursday, June 25, 2015.
Indian space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the MOM mission will have lifespan of about six months but an upbeat Mangalyaan team said the spacecraft will run for more than a year now. Currently, the spacecraft is on the other side of Sun, remaining incommunicado since June 8, which should be over today. ISRO has confirmed that the ground mission is receiving the singals now as the MOM is emerging out of the dark phase.
The MOM was launched by ISRO on 5 November, 2013 and reached the Mars orbit on 24 Sept, 2014. Initially, its lifespan was fixed at 6 months until March 24, 2015 but the ISRO said the fuel left in the spacecraft may make it survive another 6 months. The Rs.450-crore project is the most economical space mission that achieved unprecedented marvels from the space scientists’ fraternity.
MOM is put in an elliptical orbit of the Mars with a periareon (nearest point) of 474km and an apoareion (the farthest point) of 71,132km, taking it longer than NASA’s MAVEN, which has finished its 1000th orbit in April.
Mangalyaan has five payloads which are operational, with the Mars Colour Camera sending some 405 images, which have been flashed in social media by the space agency. They are some of the nearest images of Mars surface known so far.
India’s MOM is mainly to learn how to plan, design, manage, and operate interplanetary missions, an essential process that will allow larger scale future missions. The information MOM has sent is of great use to engineers and mission planners at ISRO.
Otherwise, ISRO has also launched an App called ‘Sakaar’ enabling Android mobile phone users to see MOM in 3D and also check on other current missions of ISRO.