Live: Kiran Reddy, Patnaik congratulate Isro on successful Mars orbiter launch

Tracking India's inaugural Mars Orbiter Mission live. Will the mission be a success?

Ayeshea Perera November 05, 2013 21:22:46 IST
Live: Kiran Reddy, Patnaik congratulate Isro on successful Mars orbiter launch

7.44 pm: Kiran Kumar Reddy, Patnaik congratulate Isro

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today congratulated ISRO for the successful launch of 'Mangalyan', Mars Orbiter Spacecraft.

In a statement, Reddy said, "The blast off was perfect. It's a great achievement. Isro scientists deserve all kudos for the precision-like successful launch... My hearty congratulations to the entire Isro team. It's a historic day for the country."

Congratulating the team, Patnaik said, "I congratulate Isro for the successful launch of Mars Mission. It's a path-breaking initiative which will strengthen India's foothold in space research."

"It's indeed a historic moment for all of us," the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu also congratulated the Isro team.

"Isro scientists have flown India's tricolour high in the space by successfully launching Mangalyan. It gives happiness that the 300-day mission has been launched on a successful note, which is another milestone in India's space programme," Chandrababu said in a message. -PTI

6.38 pm: Former President Abdul Kalam hails 'great mission' to Mars

Former President and renowned scientist APJ Abdul Kalam also complimented the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) for the successful launch of Mars orbiter.

In his message, Kalam, who was associated with many scientific projects including BrahMos missile, said the Mars orbiter of India "is in a great mission of a 400 million km journey which has commenced today successfully".

He expressed confidence that Isro would cross challenges in the mission on 1 December, when the orbiter is given trans-mars injection and it escapes from the earth's sphere of influence.

"I wish Isro to succeed many more challenges during the Mars orbital mission with its technological strength to achieve the desired mission objectives," he said.

6.10 pm: Mars Orbiter launch makes global headlines

The Mars Orbiter launch has put India into global headlines - and for once it's because of positive news and not because of rape, corruption or economic woes.

India launches Mars mission in giant leap for super cheap space exploration,” says The Telegraph headline.

“India launches rocket in hope of joining elite Mars explorer club,” is the top story on “A successful mission by India’s Mars orbiter would make the country the first Asian nation to reach the Red Planet — and provide a symbolic coup as neighboring China steps up its ambitions in space.

“India launches spacecraft to Mars,” is‘s headline. “India has successfully launched a spacecraft to the Red Planet – with the aim of becoming the fourth space agency to reach Mars.

And in India, we have Amul!

Live Kiran Reddy Patnaik congratulate Isro on successful Mars orbiter launch

5.15 pm: China calls for 'joint efforts' to ensure peace and sustainable development of space

"Outer space is shared by the entire mankind. Every country has the right to make peaceful exploration and use of outer space," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing when he was asked about India's Mars probe.

At the same time, he said, the international community should make joint efforts to ensure enduring peace and sustainable development of outer space".

Asked whether China is apprehensive of India's space programme, Hong said relations between the two countries are on a path of steady growth. "Political mutual trust between our two countries has increased and mutual cooperation has expanded," he said.

However, the official Chinese media alleged that India is undertaking ambitious ventures to overtake its own space programme.

The state-run Global Times daily criticised India's space programme, saying it sent a probe to Mars despite having millions of poor people to gain an advantage over China. "India has an ambitious goal of leading Asia in this area, especially having an advantage over China," it said in an editorial titled "India's space ambition offers clue to China".

4.40 pm: Launch over, next big date for Mars mission is 1 December

The successful launch of the country's Mars Orbiter Mission today, is only part of the country's first inter-planetary venture story.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is now looking forward to two key dates: 1 December, when the spacecraft leaves the earth's sphere of influence, and 24 September next year, when it's captured by Martian orbit.

The spacecraft launched today will go around the earth for 25 days before Isro plans to do trans-Mars injection at 0.42 hours on 1 December enabling it to undertake the long voyage towards the Red planet.

"This injection has to be precise as it will estimate where the satellite would be on 24 September, 2014 plus or minus 50 kms from the designated orbit around Mars (366 kms X 80,000 kms)," an Isro official told PTI.

As the spacecraft approaches the Martian orbit, Isro would reduce the velocity so that it's captured by Martian orbit; otherwise if it continues with the same velocity, it would fly past Mars.

"Being a complex mission of this nature, any day you advance (of the 300-day journey from earth to Mars), it's a progress," Isro Chairman K Radhakrishnan said.

Isro has incorporated autonomous features in MOM spacecraft to handle contingencies.

"As it moves towards Mars, given the distance between Mars and earth, you will encounter communication delay 20 minutes one way. It means when signals are sent from ground stations, it will take 20 minutes to reach the spacecraft. For about 40 minutes (including time for return communication), there will be a occasion when you do not know what's happening," an Isro official said. .

3.48 pm: Mars Orbiter successfully placed in Earth's orbit

The Mars orbiter has been successfully placed in earth's orbit, where it will stay for the next 20-25 days before heading towards the red planet. Here are some photos of the launch:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who first introduced Isro's grand Mars dreams to the nation on Republic Day, has called up Isro chief K Radhakrishnan, and congratulated his team on the successful launch of the Mars mission.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has also congratulated the organisation. President Pranab Mukherjee said, "This launch of India s first dedicated Mars Orbiter Spacecraft is a significant milestone in the progress of our space programme and space applications. This day shall go down as a landmark in our space programme, a day which will inspire our scientists to make even greater strides in achieving our national goals in the field of space."

Interesting fact: Prior to the launch, Isro chief K Radhakrishnan offered pujas at the Tirupati Venkateswara temple, about 100km from the launch pad, with miniature replicas of the rocket and the Mars orbiter spacecraft.

3.25 pm: Isro scientists narrate experience

Behind this Mars Orbiter mission, many Isro scientists were involved in different phases of the project. The triumphant lot now takes to the mike in Sriharikota to tell the world what it took to prepare such a massive mission.

And there is of course, the possibility that the low cost mission will give 'jugaad' a whole new meaning!


India being India, it doesn't take long for us to mix politics into the whole Mars madness on Twitter. Amid all the congratulatory messages, we came across this:


3.18 pm: Isro chief K Radhakrishnan congratulates colleagues

Congratulating his colleagues for their effort, Isro chief K Radhakrishnan said, "I am extremely happy to announce that the PSLV C25 placed Mars Orbiter Mission precisely in elliptical orbit about 44 minutes after lift off. This is the 25th flight of the PSLV. It has a new and complex design."

3.03 pm: Lift off is just the beginning, here's what else has to be done in Mars mission

The lift off  while successful, is just the beginning of Isro's mammoth Mars mission.

Now that it is launched, the satellite is expected to go around Earth for 20-25 days before embarking on a nine-month voyage to the red planet on 1 December and reaching the orbit of Mars on 24 September, 2014.

Mangalyaan’s journey is also a long one - a 300-day, 780 million-kilometre (485 million-mile) journey to orbit Mars and survey its geology and atmosphere. At its closest point it will be 365 kilometres (227 miles) from the planet’s surface, and at its furthest – 80,000 kilometres (49,700 miles).

All this will require careful calculation to ensure that things stay on course.

2.53 am: Accolades start pouring in as Mars Orbiter heads towards earth orbit

And the accolades have started pouring in.

"India has once again established itself in the world. I congratulate the scientists and technicians behind the mission", said BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi who for once, seems happy.

2.38 pm: And we have lift off! Mars Orbiter successfully launched

The Mars Orbiter has been successfully launched, and according to Mission control, everything is proceeding well.  The first separation of the PSLV rocket bearing the Mangalyaan craft has also succesfully taken place. So far so good. The velocity altitudes that are being plotted also show that the craft is going along its plotted route.

No massive celebrations at Sriharikota. A lot remains to be done.

The 28 minutes coasting time of the rocket before the ignition of the fourth engine is also long. The overall launch duration of around 45 minutes is nearly double that of normal PSLV launches.

2.37 pm: One minute and counting to Mars Orbiter lift off

2.30 pm: Four minutes to go and all is calm at Sriharikota

The scientists are all sitting at their terminals very very calmly as the clock ticks down to lift off time. We are also able to see visuals of the Mangalyaan space craft. There seem to be some fairly strong winds around the craft, but don't  forget the rocket launch holder has been built to withstand a wind speed of 230 km per hour, in case of a cyclone.

2.15 pm: Twenty minutes and counting...

And the Isro launch site at Siriharikota is a hive of activity as last minute preparations are completed before India's historic Mars orbiter launch.

Fittingly perhaps, #Mangalyaan is trending on Twitter. You can click on this link for all the latest stories, graphics and other information on the Mars launch.

Here are more quick facts on the Mangalyaan vessel:

Mangalyaan, which means “Mars craft” in Hindi is scheduled to lift off at 2:38 pm from Sriharikota, 80 kilometres from Chennai.

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.

1.48 pm: One hour to launch time!

We're approaching lift off at warp speed, it seems.

With just an hour to go for the Mars mission,  Isro is quietly confident that its Mars mission will succeed despite all odds. We are, after all a long way away from 1971, which marked mankinds first ever mission to Mars. According to Wired, The Soviet Union launched the Mars 2 Orbiter on 19 May, 1971. The spacecraft arrived at Mars and released its lander on 27 November, 1971. Unfortunately the lander crashed onto the Martian surface. However, it still represents the first man-made object on Mars.

Japan also made a failed attempt to reach the red planet in 1988, with its Nozumi craft. On 20 December 1998, a malfunctioning valve left the spacecraft unable to head to Mars as planned. An amended plan to reach Mars also failed, and efforts to save the mission ended on 9 December 2003.

Some 1,000 scientists have been checking every parameter at the spaceport from where PSLV-C25 will lift off at 2.38pm, carrying the Mars orbiter.

12.49 pm: Meet the Isro masterminds behind the Mars mission

Here's a slideshow of photos courtesy Isro, showing all the work being done on the Mangalyaan craft:

And this is a list of all the Indian scientists working on the mission and what their individual challenges are on this mission:

* K Radhakrishnan, 64, Chairman Isro, Secretary in Department of Space. With ISRO since 1972. Responsible for overall activities of Isro.

* S Ramakrishnan, 64, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and Member Launch Authorisation Board. With Isro since 1972. Responsible for realising the rocket (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) that would ferry the Mars orbiter.
Challenge: The launch window is only five minutes. The 28 minutes coasting time of the rocket before the ignition of the fourth engine is also long. The overall launch duration of around 45 minutes is nearly double that of normal PSLV launches.

* M Annadurai, 55, Programme Director, Mars Orbiter Mission. Responsible for budget management, direction for spacecraft configuration, schedule management, resource allocation for the mission.

Challenge: India's first true inter-planetary mission. Lots of autonomy for the spacecraft to take decisions on its own. There is a nearly 50 percent difference in climatic conditions between Earth and Mars.

* AS Kiran Kumar, 61, Director, Satellite Application Centre. Responsible for designing and building three of the orbiter payloads - Mars Colour Camera, Methane Sensor and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer.
Challenge: Miniaturising the components as the satellite does not provide much space.

* MYS Prasad, 60, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Chairman, Launch Authorisation Board. Responsible for range safety and schedules, overall incharge at rocket port.
Challenge: Launch during northeast monsoon season, enhanced weather forecasting capability to 10 days, simultaneously carrying out preparatory work for Mars Mission while dismantling the GSLV rocket after the mission was aborted this year.

* SK Shivakumar, 60, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre. Responsible for developing satellite technology and implementing satellite systems for scientific, technological and application missions.

* P Kunhikrishnan, 52, Project Director, PSLV programme; ninth time as mission director. Responsible for seeing the rocket completes is mission successfully and that the satellite is correctly injected in the designated orbit.
Challenge: The orbital characteristic is different from regular PSLV missions. The total duration of the launch is 44 minutes. This requires lot of thermal management as the temperature in space will be low. The systems and equipment have to be protected from low temperatures.

* S Arunan, 50, Project Director, Mars Orbiter Mission. Responsible for leading a team to build the spacecraft.
Challenges: Building a new communication system; making the
spacecraft largely autonomous to take decisions, making the orbiter engine restart after 300 days, designing solar power cells, developing new navigation software.

* B. Jayakumar, 54, Associate Project Director, PSLV Project. Responsible for the rocket systems, testing till the final lift-off.
Challenges: Long launch duration of 44 minutes, providing additional thermal protection for components and systems.

* MS Pannirselvam, 59, Chief General Manager, Range Operation Director at Sriharikota Rocket port. Responsible for maintaining launch schedules without any slippages.

12.24 pm: India Mars mission will complement our research, says Nasa

Michael Braukas, a Nasa spokesman has told Computerworld that India's mars mission will complement research by Nasa.

Braukas told Computerworld that India's Mars mission is not a cooperative one with NASA, but added that the US agency will provide the Indian agency some deep space communications help. The US plans to provide data from its satellites and antennas that show the craft's position in space, for instance.

Nasa already has robotic rovers Curiosity and Opportunity exploring the surface of Mars along with orbiters Odyssey and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter taking images, studying the Martian atmosphere and relaying data compiled by the rovers back to Earth.

Here's a video compiled by Isro for its Mars launch:

11.44 am:  India's Mars mission faces 'long odds', says Nasa

Even as India prepares with crossed fingers for its inaugural Mars launch, the director of Nasa has said that the chances of the mission succeeding are actually very slim.

The Washington Post quoted Nasa's director of planetary science, Jim Green, as saying  the Indian mission faces long odds. Of 40 missions to Mars by various countries, he said, only 16 have been successful.

“The track record tells us Mars is very, very hard,” Green said. He noted that some missions have missed the planet entirely and that some have crashed into it.

But that is not to say that Nasa is not behind Isro in this mission.

According to PTI, Nasa wished the Indian space agency with "lucky peanuts" on its Facebook page, for the MOM scheduled for launch on November 5 from Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota.

The good wishes message titled "lucky peanuts" was posted on the Isro's recently created MOM Facebook page on Thursday by Nasa's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).

"As you prepare for your launch to Mars, do not forget one of the few, but important action: pass around the peanuts!" a post by JPL on Isro's MOM Facebook page read.

The American Nasa/JPL is also providing communications and navigation support to this mission to the red planet with their deep space network facilities.

Illustrating the tradition of peanuts for Mars Mission at JPL, the post read: "It goes back to the 1960s with the very first missions we sent to the moon. We had seven mission attempts to go the moon before we succeeded, and on the seventh one, they had passed out peanuts in the control room."

"Ranger 7, which in July 1964 became the first US space probe to successfully transmit close images of the moon's surface back to the earth, made the peanuts into a tradition at JPL," it added.

Stating that ever since, it has been a long standing tradition to hand out peanuts "whenever we launch and whenever we do anything important like land on Mars", the post by JPL read: "We use all the luck we can get!"

Giving away another traditional secret to Isro, followed during the launch that has proved lucky to Nasa, the post said "For MSL, (Mars Science Laboratory) we put a label on the jar that says "dare mighty things."

11.10 am: Coincidence that Mangalyaan is on a Mangalvaar? Not really!

And India being India, what is a little rocket science without a little spiritualism as well? Whoever said that science and spirituality are mutually exclusive, needs to watch Isro in action. According to this report in the Times of India:

"Carrying on with a tradition followed by his predecessor G Madhavan Nair, Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan offered pujas at the Tirupati Venkateswara temple, about 100km from the launch pad, with miniature replicas of the rocket and the Mars orbiter spacecraft.

The report also quoted a scientist as saying that it was more than a coincidence that the Mars mission named Mangalyaan falls on a Mangalvaar (Tuesday, the day of Mars, called Mangala in Indian astronomy). "We know we have done a great job," chipped in another, "but let's not complain if there is a little divine intervention."

10.30 am: All systems go, with four hours to blast off

With four hours to go for the Mars mission, Isro says that all systems are switched on for the final countdown, and everything is proceeding smoothly.

“The countdown for the launch, which commenced yesterday has been progressing smoothly. Things are normal. We are busy with preparatory work,” an ISRO spokesman said.

The Launch Authorisation Board for Isro had on 1 November given its consent for launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission after a successful launch rehearsal the previous day.

The 44.4 metre tall rocket has been mounted on the pedestal of the First Launch Pad at the spaceport, covered by a 76 metre tall Mobile Service Tower, designed to withstand a wind speed of 230 km per hour, in case of a cyclone. It will be removed as the countdown comes closer to the launch.

Some information on the Mars Orbiter Mission:

Mangalyaan, which means “Mars craft” in Hindi is scheduled to lift off at 2:38 pm from Sriharikota, 80 kilometres from Chennai. The primary objective of the mission is to demonstrate India’s technological capability to send a craft to orbit around Mars and conduct meaningful experiments such as looking for signs of life, take pictures of the Red planet and study Martian environment. The satellite will carry compact science experiments, totaling a mass of 15 kg — five instruments to study Martian surface, atmosphere and mineralogy.

Live Kiran Reddy Patnaik congratulate Isro on successful Mars orbiter launch


Of the five scientific instruments, the Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM) has been built to measure the natural gas in the Martian atmosphere with PPB (particles per billion) accuracy and map its sources. “As methane is an indicator of past life on Mars, the sensor will look for its presence in the Martian orbit. If available, we should know its source in terms of biology and geology. The thermal infrared sensor will find out if the gas is from geological origin,” a top space official told the IANS agency.

The second instrument – Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP) – will study the atmospheric process of Mars and measure the deuterium (isotope) and hydrogen ratio and neutral particles in its upper atmosphere. “The third is a Mars Colour Camera (MCC) to take images of the planet, its surface and data on its composition. Pictures and data will be used to study the dynamic events and the Martian weather,” the chairman added.

The other two instruments – Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS) – will analyse the neutral composition and measure the temperature during day and night to map the surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.

Here is a look at the payload of the Mangalyaan craft:

Mars orbiter mission- Payloads by Firstpost

The mission, which if successful would be a massive feather in the cap for Isro, is also being seen as a chance for India to forge ahead of China in the international space race. “The mission, if successful, would be a technological leap that would propel India ahead of space rivals China and Japan in the field of interplanetary exploration,” said The Wall Street Journal.

However not everyone is in favour of the mission.

Mangalyaan would be “a national waste,” said G Madhavan Nair, the former chair of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to He oversaw India’s first imaging mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008, but recently has fallen out with ISRO management. He describes the Mars project as “a half-baked, half-cooked mission being attempted in undue haste with misplaced objectives.” Nair also spoke to CNN-IBN about his qualms. The amount of equipment the craft would be able to take with it under projected conditions is “very meager,” Nair told the television channel. “I don’t think much useful science can be done.” (Read more)

A look at Isro's other missions:

100 missions of ISRO

Updated Date:

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