India to Launch First Mars Spacecraft on Tuesday

Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft attached to the 4th stage of PSLV-C25 and ready for heat shield closure. (Credit: ISRO)
Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft attached to the 4th stage of PSLV-C25 and ready for heat shield closure. (Credit: ISRO)

On Tuesday, India will launch its first mission to the Red Planet, the Mars Orbiter Mission. The spacecraft will study the planet from a highly elliptical orbit of 377 x 80,000 km using five instruments.

This is only the second time that ISRO’s has sent a spacecraft beyond Earth orbit, the first being the Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter.Only the United States, Soviet Union and Europe have successfully sent spacecraft to Mars.

The instruments on board the spacecraft include:

  • Mars color camera
  • Lyman alpha photometer
  • Methane sensor for Mars
  • Thermal infrared imaging spectrometer
  • Mars exospheric neutral composition analyser.

 

The mission is heavy on technological development, including the following objectives:

  • Design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and 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.

ISRO plans a live webcast of the launch on Tuesday, Nov. 5 beginning at 14:00 hours IST. Visit the space agency’s website for updates.