Success! India creates history as Mangalyaan enters Mars orbit
Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) entered a crucial phase on Wednesday with the country's space scientists steering the spacecraft to the red planet's orbit.
Chennai: India's ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) entered a crucial phase on Wednesday with the country's space scientists steering the spacecraft to the red planet's orbit.
After rotating the Orbiter towards Mars, the main engine was fired 24 minutes from Mars to enter the Martian orbit, which will be about 500 km from its surface and 215 million km away from the Earth in radio distance.
The spacecraft will consume about 250 kg of liquid fuel with oxidiser.
The five scientific instruments on board the 475-kg Orbiter will study the Martian surface and its mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas.
The Rs 450-crore ($70 million) Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) was launched Nov 5, 2013, on board a polar rocket from the country's only spaceport at Sriharikota off the Bay of Bengal, about 80 km northeast of Chennai.
The state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the fourth international space agency after National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US, Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA) and European Space Agency to undertake a mission to Mars.
India made history by becoming the first country in the world to enter the Martian orbit in its maiden attempt.
“The spacecraft (Orbiter) was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit at 515 km away from the red planet’s surface and 215 million km away from the earth in radio distance,” a senior space official told IANS at the mission’s control centre.
As the second smallest celestial body in the solar system, Mars is also known as the red planet due to the presence of iron oxide in abundance, giving it a reddish appearance.
"We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved the near impossible," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Mars Orbiter entered the Mars orbit.
"History has been created today," said Modi amidst applause. "We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved the near impossible."
He congratulated Indians and ISRO scientists for the success, despite the constraint of resources. "We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise," said the prime minister.
The success of India's successful mission to Mars "will go down as landmark in history", said Modi. "These are all accomplishments that will go down as landmarks in history."
The prime minister said that the MOM was built "indigenously, in a pan-Indian effort, stretching from Bangalore to Bhubhaneshwar, and Faridabad to Rajkot". He said: "India is the only country, to have succeeded in its very first attempt."
"With today's spectacular success, ISRO joins an elite group, of only three other agencies worldwide to have successfully reached red planet," he added amidst applause.
Modi, wearing a red coloured jacket, said that the "odds, were stacked against us".
"Of the 51 missions, attempted across the world so far, a mere 21 had succeeded. But we have prevailed," he said.
The prime minister said: "Travelling an incredible distance, of over 650 million or 65 crore kms,we have gone beyond boundaries, of human enterprise and imagination."
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