HAL makes Mars orbiter panels for space agency

Bangalore, Sep 21 (IANS) Defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said it has fabricated spacecraft panels for the Mars orbiter mission that will be launched by the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in November 2013.

"We have delivered the satellite structure for the space agency's Mars orbiter mission aimed at studying the climate, geology, origin and evolution of the red planet," HAL chairman R.K. Tyagi said in a statement here Friday.

The spacecraft structure, consisting of composite and metallic honeycomb sandwich panels with a central cylinder, was assembled at the state-run HAL's aerospace complex in the city.

The space agency will integrate the subsystems and scientific instruments with the spacecraft, which will be launched on board a heavy rocket (PSLV-XL) from its spaceport at Sriharikota, about 80 km north east of Chennai.

The spacecraft will take over 300 days from the launch date to reach the Martian orbit, about 500 km from the planet's surface.

"During its Martian orbit, the spacecraft will be 54.6 million km away from earth, which will make it the farthest to travel in space," Tyagi pointed out.

ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan Monday said the Mars mission would be launched Nov 27, 2013 when the red planet would be closer to the earth.

"We plan to put a spacecraft in an elliptical orbit for studying its atmosphere and detect presence of life on its surface," Radhakrishnan told reporters then.

The Rs.470-crore ($81 million) Mars mission will demonstrate India's capability to send a spacecraft 55 million km away from earth and look for life-sustaining elements on the Martian surface.

"The Mars mission will make India join the elite club of five top nations comprising the US, Russia, Europe, China and Japan, with indigenous technology for a 300-day space voyage from the launch date," Radhakrishnan said.

As the fourth planet from sun and smallest celestial object in the solar system, Mars is terrestrial with breath-taking valleys, deserts, craters and volcanoes in a thin atmosphere.

Christened after the Roman god of war, the red planet has many similarities with Earth like the rotation period and seasonal cycles.

Updated Date: Sep 21, 2012 23:45:47 IST