Mars Orbiter Mission
Artist's rendering of the MOM orbiting Mars
|Mission type||Mars orbiter|
|Mission duration||6 months (planned)|
|Launch mass||1,337 kg (2,948 lb)|
|Dry mass||500 kg (1,100 lb)|
|Payload mass||15 kg (33 lb)|
|Dimensions||1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) cube|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||5 November 2013, 09:08UTC|
|Launch site||Satish Dhawan FLP|
|Periareon||365.3 km (227.0 mi)|
|Apoareon||80,000 km (50,000 mi)|
|Orbital insertion||24 September 2014
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for "Mars-Craft"), is a Mars orbiter launched into Earth orbit on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is expected to enter orbit around Mars on 24 September 2014. The mission is a "technology demonstrator" project aiming to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission.
The Mars Orbiter Mission probe lifted-off from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 at 09:08 UTC (14:38 IST) on 5 November 2013. The launch window was approximately 20 days long and started on 28 October 2013. The MOM probe spent about a month in Earth orbit, where it made a series of seven altitude-raising orbital manoeuvres before trans-Mars injection on 30 November 2013 (UTC).
It is India's first interplanetary mission and, if successful, ISRO would become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency. The spacecraft is currently being monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu.
The MOM mission concept began with a feasibility study in 2010, after the launch of lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. The government of India approved the project on 3 August 2012, after the Indian Space Research Organisation completed 1.25 billion (US$21 million) of required studies for the orbiter. The total project cost may be up to 4.54 billion (US$74 million). The satellite costs 1.53 billion (US$25 million) and the rest of the budget has been attributed to ground stations and relay upgrades that will be used for other ISRO projects.
The space agency had initially planned the launch on 28 October 2013 but was postponed to 5 November 2013 following the delay in ISRO's spacecraft tracking ships to take up pre-determined positions due to poor weather in the Pacific Ocean. Launch opportunities for a fuel-saving Hohmann transfer orbit occur about every 26 months, in this case, 2016 and 2018. The Mars Orbiter's on-orbit mission life will be between six and ten months.
Assembly of the PSLV-XL launch vehicle, designated C25, started on 5 August 2013. The mounting of the five scientific instruments was completed at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, and the finished spacecraft was shipped to Sriharikota on 2 October 2013 for integration to the PSLV-XL launch vehicle. The satellite's development was fast-tracked and completed in a record 15 months. Despite the US federal government shutdown, NASA reaffirmed on 5 October 2013 it would provide communications and navigation support to the mission. ISRO chairman stated in November 2013 that if the MOM and NASA's orbiter MAVEN were successful, they would complement each other in findings and help understand Mars better.
- K. Radhakrishan – Chairman, ISRO
- A. S. Kiran Kumar – Director, SAC
- Mylswamy Annadurai – Programme Director, MOM
- B. S. Chandrashekar – Director, ISTRAC
- P. Robert – Operations Director, MOM
- Subbiah Arunan – Project Director, MOM
- V. Kesavaraju – Post-Launch Mission Director, MOM
- P. Ekambaram – Operations Director, MOM
- P. Kunhikrishnan – Launch Mission Director, PSLV-XL
- S. K. Shivkumar – Orbiting payload Director, ISAC
- B. Jayakumara – Launch Vehicle Director, PSLV
The primary objective of the Mars Orbiter Mission is to showcase India's rocket launch systems, spacecraft-building and operations capabilities. Specifically, the primary objective is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission, comprising the following major tasks:
- design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to perform Earth-bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars;
- deep-space communication, navigation, mission planning and management;
- incorporate autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
- The lift-off mass was 1,350 kg (2,980 lb), including 852 kg (1,878 lb) of propellant.
- Cuboid in shape of approximately 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
- The spacecraft's bus is a modified I-1 K structure and propulsion hardware configurations similar to Chandrayaan 1, India's lunar orbiter that operated from 2008 to 2009, with specific improvements and upgrades needed for a Mars mission. The satellite structure is of aluminium and composite fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) sandwich construction.
- Electric power is generated by three solar array panels of 1.8 m × 1.4 m (5 ft 11 in × 4 ft 7 in) each (7.56 m2 (81.4 sq ft) total), for a maximum of 840 W generation in Martian orbit. Electricity is stored in a 36 Ah Li-ion battery.
- Liquid fuel engine of 440 N thrust is used for orbit raising and insertion in Martian orbit. The orbiter also has eight 22 N thrusters for attitude control or orientation.
- Two 230 W TWTAs and two coherent transponders. The antenna array consists of a low-gain antenna, a medium-gain antenna and a high-gain antenna. The High-gain antenna system is based on a single 2.2-metre reflector illuminated by a feed at S-band. It is used to transmit and receive the telemetry, tracking, commanding and data to and from the Indian Deep Space Network.
|LAP||Lyman-Alpha Photometer||1.97 kg|
|MSM||Methane Sensor For Mars||2.94 kg|
|MENCA||Mars Exospheric Neutral
|TIS||Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer||3.2 kg|
|MCC||Mars Colour Camera||1.27 kg|
- Atmospheric studies
- Lyman-Alpha Photometer (LAP) – a photometer that measures the relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen from Lyman-alpha emissions in the upper atmosphere. Measuring the deuterium/hydrogen ratio will allow an estimation of the amount of water loss to outer space.
- Methane Sensor For Mars (MSM) – will measure methane in the atmosphere of Mars, if any, and map its sources.
- Particle environment studies
- Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) – is a quadrupole mass analyser capable of analysing the neutral composition of particles in the exosphere.
- Surface imaging studies
- Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS) – will measure the temperature and emissivity of the Martian surface, allowing for the mapping of surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.
- Mars Colour Camera (MCC) – will provide images in the visual spectrum, providing context for the other instruments.
Telemetry and command
The Indian Space Research Organisation Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network performed navigation and tracking operations for the launch with ground stations at Sriharikota, Port Blair, Brunei and Biak in Indonesia, and after the spacecraft's apogee became more than 100,000 km, two large 18-metre and 32-metre diameter antennas of the Indian Deep Space Network started to be utilised. The 18-metre diameter dish-antenna was used for communication with the craft till April 2014, after which the larger 32-metre antenna started to be used. NASA's Deep Space Network is providing position data through its three stations located in Canberra, Madrid and Goldstone on the US West Coast during the non-visible period of ISRO's network. The South African National Space Agency's (SANSA) Hartebeesthoek (HBK) ground station is also providing satellite tracking, telemetry and command services.
|Geocentric phase||5 November 2013 09:08 UTC||Launch||Burn time: 15:35 min in 5 stages||Apogee: 23,550 km|||
|6 November 2013 19:47 UTC||Orbit raising manoeuvre||Burn time: 416 sec||Apogee: 23,550 km to 28,825 km|||
|7 November 2013 20:48 UTC||Orbit raising manoeuvre||Burn time: 570.6 sec||Apogee: 28,825 km to 40,186 km|||
|8 November 2013 20:40 UTC||Orbit raising manoeuvre||Burn time: 707 sec||Apogee: 40,186 km to 71,636 km|||
|10 November 2013 20:36 UTC||Orbit raising manoeuvre||Incomplete burn||Apogee: 71,636 km to 78,276 km|||
|11 November 2013 23:33 UTC||Orbit raising manoeuvre
|Burn time: 303.8 sec||Apogee: 78,276 km to 118,642 km|||
|15 November 2013 19:57 UTC||Orbit raising manoeuvre||Burn time: 243.5 sec||Apogee: 118,642 km to 192,874 km|||
|30 November 2013, 19:19 UTC||Trans-Mars injection||Burn time: 1328.89 sec||Successful heliocentric insertion|||
|Heliocentric phase||December 2013 – September 2014||En route to Mars – The probe is currently travelling a distance of 780 million kilometres (484 million miles) in a parabolic trajectory around the Sun to reach Mars. As of 9 June 2014, the probe has travelled 460 million km in its path to Mars, and was about 100 million km away from Earth. This phase plan includes up to four trajectory corrections if needed.|||
|11 December 2013 01:00 UTC||1st Trajectory correction||Burn time: 40.5 sec||Success|||
|9 April 2014||2nd Trajectory correction (planned)||Unnecessary||Rescheduled for 11 June 2014|||
|11 June 2014 11:00 UTC||2nd Trajectory correction||Burn time: 16 sec||Success|||
|August 2014||3rd Trajectory correction (planned)||Unnecessary|||
|22 September 2014||3rd Trajectory correction|||
|Areocentric phase||24 September 2014||Mars orbit insertion|||
As originally conceived, ISRO would have launched MOM on its new Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), but the GSLV has failed twice in two space missions in 2010, ISRO is still sorting out issues with its cryogenic engine, and it was not advisable to wait for the new batch of rockets since that would have delayed the MOM project for at least three years. ISRO had to make a choice between delaying the Mars Orbiter Mission and switching to the less-powerful PSLV. They opted for the latter. There is no way to launch on a direct-to-Mars trajectory with the PSLV as it does not have the power. Instead, ISRO launched it into Earth orbit first and slowly boosted it into an interplanetary trajectory using multiple perigee burns to maximize the Oberth effect.
On 19 October 2013, ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan announced that the launch had to be postponed by a week as a result of a delay of a crucial telemetry ship reaching Fiji Islands. The launch was rescheduled for 5 November 2013. ISRO's PSLV-XL placed the satellite in Earth orbit at 09:50 UTC, on 5 November 2013, with a perigee of 264.1 km, an apogee of 23,903.6 km, and inclination of 19.20 degrees, with both the antenna and all three sections of the solar panel arrays deployed. During the first three orbit raising operations, ISRO progressively tested the spacecraft systems.
The orbiter's dry mass is 500 kg (1,100 lb), and it carries 852 kg (1,878 lb) of fuel and oxidiser. Its main engine, which is a derivative of the system used on India's communications satellites, uses the bipropellant combination monomethylhydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide to achieve the thrust necessary for escape velocity from Earth. It will also be used to slow down the probe for Mars orbit insertion and subsequently, for orbit corrections.
Orbit raising manoeuvres
Several orbit raising operations were conducted from the Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bangalore on 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 16 November by using the spacecraft's on-board propulsion system and a series of perigee burns. The aim was to gradually build up the necessary escape velocity (11.2 km/s) to break free from Earth's gravitational pull while minimising propellant use. The first three of the five planned orbit raising manoeuvres were completed with nominal results, while the fourth was partially successful. However, a subsequent supplementary manoeuvre raised the orbit to the intended altitude aimed for in the original fourth manoeuvre. A total of six burns were completed while the spacecraft remained in Earth orbit, with a seventh burn conducted on 30 November to insert MOM into a heliocentric orbit for its transit to Mars.
The first orbit-raising manoeuvre was performed on 6 November 2013 at 19:47 UTC when the 440 newtons (99 lbf) liquid engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds. With this engine firing, the spacecraft's apogee was raised to 28,825 km, with a perigee of 252 km. The second orbit raising manoeuvre was performed on 7 November 2013 at 20:48 UTC, with a burn time of 570.6 seconds resulting in an apogee of 40,186 km. The third orbit raising manoeuvre was performed on 8 November 2013 at 20:40 UTC, with a burn time of 707 seconds resulting in an apogee of 71,636 km.
The fourth orbit raising manoeuvre, starting at 20:36 UTC on 10 November 2013, imparted an incremental velocity of 35 m/s to the spacecraft instead of the planned 135 m/s as a result of underburn by the motor. Because of this, the apogee was boosted to 78,276 km instead of the planned 100,000 km. When testing the redundancies built-in for the propulsion system, the flow to the liquid engine stopped, with consequent reduction in incremental velocity. During the fourth orbit burn, the primary and redundant coils of the solenoid flow control valve of 440 newton liquid engine and logic for thrust augmentation by the attitude control thrusters were being tested. When both primary and redundant coils were energised together during the planned modes, the flow to the liquid engine stopped. Operating both the coils simultaneously is not possible for future operations, however they could be operated independently of each other, in sequence. As a result of the fourth planned burn coming up short, an additional unscheduled burn was performed on 12 November 2013 that increased the apogee to 118,642 km, a slightly higher altitude than originally intended in the fourth manoeuvre. The apogee was raised to 192,874 km on 15 November 2013, 19:57 UTC in the final orbit raising manoeuvre.
On 30 November 2013 at 19:19 UTC, a 23-minute engine firing initiated the transfer of MOM away from Earth orbit and on heliocentric trajectory toward Mars. The probe is now travelling a distance of 780 million kilometres (484 million miles) to reach Mars.
As on 15 September 2014, MOM has covered 98% of its journey and at a distance of 215 Million kms from Earth. One way communication takes 718 seconds. It has to travel 13 Million kms in Heliocentric path to Mars. Time-tagged commands to execute Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) uploading and verification in progress.
Trajectory correction manoeuvres
Four trajectory corrections were originally planned, but only three will be carried out.
The first trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM) was carried out on 11 December 2013, 01:00 UTC, by firing the 22 newtons (4.9 lbf) thrusters for a duration of 40.5 seconds. As observed in April 2014, MOM is following the designed trajectory so closely that the trajectory correction manoeuvre planned in April 2014 was not required. The second trajectory correction manoeuvre was performed on 11 June 2014, at 16:30 hrs IST by firing the spacecraft's 22 newton thrusters for a duration of 16 seconds. The third planned trajectory correction manoeuvre was postponed, due to the orbiter's trajectory closely matching the planned trajectory.
Mars orbit insertion
The current plan is for insertion into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014, approximately 2 days after the arrival of NASA's MAVEN orbiter. The 440N liquid apogee motor will be test fired on 22 September for 5 seconds, about 48 hours before actual orbit insertion. MOM will be set on a highly elliptical orbit around Mars, with a period of 76.7 hours and a planned periapsis of 365 km (227 mi) and apoapsis of 80,000 km (50,000 mi).
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mars Orbiter Mission.|
- Mars Orbiter Mission Home Page
- Website for the launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission
- Mission brochure of Mars Orbiter Mission
- Mars Orbiter Mission on Twitter
- Mars Orbiter Mission on Facebook
- Spaceflight101 page on MOM
- NASA Canberra's DSN webpage list of current tracked space missions
- Mangalyaan and Indian space program debate (Sarcanomics; March 2014).