Mars OrbiterThe countdown for India’s first ever Mars mission has begun. After Chandrayaan, the country’s successful moon mission in 2008, Mangalyaan, the Mars orbiter mission will begin with a rocket launch today afternoon.

As of 06:08 Hrs this morning, all vehicle systems have been switched ON and the final eight and half hour countdown has started. Here’s what you need to know about the mission.

Launch Time: Tuesday 5th November 2013 at 14:38(IST)

Launch Location: Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh

You can watch the Live telecast of the event on Doordarshan and Live Webcast at http://isro.org/ and http://webcast.gov.in/live/, 14:00(IST) onwards.

PSLV C25 at First Launch Pad, SDSC SHAR
PSLV C25 at First Launch Pad, SDSC SHAR

Mars sways human imagination like no other planet in the solar system because its conditions are believed to be hospitable. It is similar to earth in many ways

–K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) [Source]

Mars

Mission Objectives

The primary objective of our mission is to see if we can reach the Mars orbit. That is the acknowledged objective. There are also scientific objectives and a set of instruments for carrying them out.

–K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO [Source]

The mission objectives are both technological and scientific in nature. Here are some of the important objectives for ISRO.

  • Design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earthbound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.

  • Deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management.

  • Exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.

Mars Orbiter Trajectory
The Mars Orbiter Trajectory.

Mission Facts

  • The 1,337 kg Mars Orbiter Satellite will be put into a 250 km X 23,500 km elliptical orbit.

  • The launch vehicle being used is a PSLV-C25.

  • This is the 25th mission of PSLV and fifth in the XL configuration.

  • Time from launch to injection of the Orbiter into its trajectory is about 40 minutes.

  • The cost of the mission is approximately Rs. 450 crore.

  • With this mission, India will be the first Asian country and the fourth in the world to take part in interplanetary exploration.

The Mars Orbiter payloads

Lyman Alpha Photometer(LAP): This device is an absorption cell photometer that will help determine the relative abundance of Deuterium and Hydrogen from Lyman-Alpha emission in the upper Martian atmosphere. The results from the device will mainly help us understand the loss process of water from Mars, among other things.

Mars Color Camera(MCC): This tri-color camera will provide information regarding the Martian surface like surface features and composition. It will also help monitor the dynamic events and weather on the planet. The camera will also monitor Phobos, and Deimos, the two satellites of mars.

Methane Sensor for Mars(MSM): This device will measure Methane(CH4) in the planet’s atmosphere and map its sources.

Mars Exospheric neutral Composition Analyser(MENCA): This device is a mass spectrometer that can analyse neutral composition in the range of 1 to 300 amu with unit mass resolution.

Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer(TIS): This device will measure the thermal emission both during day and night. TIS can also map surface composition and mineralogy of the planet.

Mars orbiter prep
The Mars Orbiter being prepared.

You can read more details about the mission here. Also visit the ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission’s Facebook page here for the latest updates.

ISRO Mangalyaan

Image Source: ISRO