India’s Mars Orbiter has run out of fuel and its battery has run out to the safe limit, fueling speculation that the country’s first interplanetary mission ‘Mangalyaan’ may have finally completed its long roles.
The Rs 450 Crore Mars Orbiter mission launched aboard PSLV-C25 on 5th November 2013, and the MOM spacecraft was successfully inserted into Mars orbit on 24th September 2014 on its first attempt.
“For now, there is no fuel left. The satellite’s battery has run out,” sources at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) told PTI. Link lost.
However, no official word has come from the country’s national space agency, which is based here.
With fuel on board, ISRO was performing orbital maneuvers on the MOM spacecraft to move it into a new orbit to avoid an imminent eclipse in the past.
“But recently, there have been back-to-back eclipses, including one that lasted seven and a half hours,” said the officials, who requested anonymity, noting that all the propellant on board the old satellite had been used up.
“Because the satellite’s battery is designed to handle an eclipse duration of only about 1 hour and 40 minutes, a longer eclipse will drain the battery beyond the safe limit,” another official said.
ISRO officials noted that the Mars Orbiter has been in operation for about eight years, well beyond the six-month life of its designed mission.
“It has done its job and achieved important scientific results,” they said. The mission’s objectives were primarily technological and included the design, completion and launch of a spacecraft on Mars capable of operating autonomously enough during the flight phase; Enter/capture the orbit of Mars and the stage in orbit around Mars.
MOM – a technical pilot project – carried five science payloads (15 kg total) to collect data on surface geology, morphology, atmospheric processes, surface temperature and atmospheric escape process.
The five instruments are: the Mars Color Camera (MCC), Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS), the Mars Methane Sensor (MSM), the Mars Extra Atmospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA) and the Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP).
ISRO officials noted that “MOM has many achievements such as cost-effectiveness, short turnaround time, collective economic budgeting, and the miniaturization of five heterogeneous science payloads.”
MOM MCC’s highly elliptical orbit geometry has enabled rapid snapshots of the “full disk” of Mars at its farthest point and finer detail from its nearest point.
MCC has produced over 1,000 images and published an atlas of Mars.
Meanwhile, plans for the “Mangalyaan” mission to the red planet have not yet been confirmed.
ISRO made an “Announcement of Opportunity” (AO) for a future Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM-2) in 2016, but officials acknowledged it was still on the drawing board, with “Gaganyaan” and “Chandrayaan-3” appearing and “Inclusion of Aditya projects – L1 is on the space agency’s current priority list.
AO said: “The next mission of the Mars Orbiter is now planned to enable future launch opportunity. Proposals have been requested from interested scientists within India to conduct experiments aboard the Mars Orbiter Mission-2 (MOM-2), to address relevant scientific information. Problems and topics.” “Not on the approved list yet,” a senior ISRO official told PTI when asked about an update on the MOM-2.
“We need to formulate project proposals and payloads based on broader consultation with the research community,” the official said. “It’s still on the drawing board. But it needs more detail and international cooperation to finish the job.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by the NDTV crew and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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