India’s Mars probe completes 7 years in orbit; Here’s a look at ‘MOM’

India’s Mars Orbiter spacecraft has completed seven years in its orbit beyond a six-month designed mission life reported PTI.

“This is truly a gratifying feeling,”  K Radhakrishnan who as the then Chairman of ISRO led the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) team told PTI on the milestone.

Mars Orbiter Mision(MOM) called Mangalyaan is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is India’s first interplanetary mission. It made it the fourth space agency to achieve Mars orbit, after Roscosmos, NASA, and the European Space Agency. It made India the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and the first nation in the world to do so on its initial attempt.’

The mission, MOM is a technology demonstrator project to develop the technologies for designing, planning, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission. It carries five scientific instruments. The spacecraft is currently being monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bengaluru. It is done with support from the Indian Deep Space Network antennae at Bengaluru, Karnataka. According to the officials, all the mission objectives were successfully met. Officials said scientific analysis of the data being received from MOM spacecraft is in progress.

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The lessons learned so far have raised the confidence of ISRO scientists for taking up future interplanetary missions. It is found that there are some issues with moving elements and some of the redundancies have to be switched over, said the Programme Director of MOM, M Annadurai. At the same time, he expects the spacecraft to have a mission life of probably another year. Annadurai pointed out that the spacecraft was launched by PSLV as GSLV was not in operational condition then. ISRO could apportion only about 15 kg for scientific instruments, and the time available for scientists to develop them was only 18-19 months.

The officials said in their statement that the spacecraft has already covered three Martian years. “We have good inputs on seasonal effects on Mars atmosphere Surface. The mission has provided meaningful data also,” said Annadurai.