A month after the technology minister Jitendra’s statement in parliament extending MoM lifespan by 6 more months, ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said the Mangalyaan mission orbiting Mars is likely to stay on for many more years, except for 14 days of blackout in communication in June when it will be in line with Sun and Earth.
“In June, we have for two weeks a communication blackout, because the Sun, Earth and Mars will be in the same line, as a result of which no communication will be possible for 14 days,” he said assuring that the autonomous systems will take over during the period.
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan, has so far completed over 800 orbiting circles in Mars orbit and is likely to stay afloat orbiting Mars for several more years as its fuel of 39-kg is still in tact, he said.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman also said compared to the US orbiting mission MAVEN which is also up on Mars sky, India’s MoM is taking long elliptical orbit.
Mangalyaan reached the Martian orbit on September 24, 2014 while NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) orbiter began encircling Mars on September 5, 2014.
So far, MAVEN has completed over 1000 orbits compared to 800 by MoM.
“Ours is a highly elliptical orbit and so we will take more time… Their orbit is probably one-third of ours,” said Kiran Kumar on the sidelines of Gujarat Innovation Society Award Function in Ahmedabad.
The credit for fuel saving devices goes to ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU) and the Ceramic Servo Accelerometer, who had built the devices on-board the Mangalyaan, including a Mars Colour Camera, Methane Sensor for Mars, Lyman Alpha Photometer, Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer.