India's Mars probe completes seven years
GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)
India's Mars Orbiter spacecraft has completed seven years in its orbit, well beyond its designed mission life of six months. MOM is the maiden interplanetary mission of ISRO. Launched on 5 November 2013, the probe was successfully inserted into Martian orbit on 24 September 2014 in its first attempt.
- MOM is primarily a technology demonstration venture and all the mission objectives were successfully met.
- The main lessons learnt were in the field of design and realisation of systems and subsystems, launch for interplanetary missions, insertion into other planet's orbit, operation of the spacecraft and scientific instruments around Mars orbit.
- ISRO has been continuously monitoring the spacecraft and its five scientific instruments, and officials said scientific analysis of the data being received from MOM spacecraft is in progress.
- The spacecraft's health is reasonably good considering that we are in the seventh year.
- On the reasons for the long mission life, ISRO had done corrections after learning lessons from the Chandrayaan-1 venture, in terms of reconfiguring the spacecraft and optimisation of fuel management, among others.
- 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.