After a successful launch, ISRO is readying to raise the orbit of the Mars Orbiter on Thursday. The Orbiter spacecraft would go round the earth five times before it is pushed towards the red planet on December 1. Currently the spacecraft is on its first round of earth. The Mars Orbiter was launched on Tuesday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
Speaking to PTI, an ISRO official said, “Since its injection into Earth’s orbit yesterday, it has been functioning smoothly on the orbit. We are planning to perform orbit raising manoeuvres in the early hours of tomorrow”.
Six orbit raising activities will be carried out of which the sixth one is an important step. It is in this step that the orbiter will be pushed into the sun-centric orbit and the orbiter will begin its journey towards the red planet.
On Tuesday, PSLV C25, the vehicle that carried the 1,340 kg Mars Orbiter injected it into the earth’s orbit at just the instant it was meant to. This has bolstered the confidence of the space agency and the mission on the whole. The control of the mission is now with ISTRAC scientists (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network) in Bangalore. As per satellite tracking website www.n2yo.com, the MOM spacecraft, as at 1.09 pm, had crossed Nigeria and was flying over Chad in Africa. The MOM was at a perigee of 264.1km and an apogee of 23,903.6km with degree inclination of 19.3 degrees. The website also informed that MOM wouldn’t fly over India since its trajectory would cross the Indian Ocean after it left Somalia.
The Orbiter carries around 850 kg of fuel of which approximately 360 kg will be spent on orbit-raising. Once the orbiter touches the surface its fuel requirement will be minimal. Though the orbiter is expected to survive at least six months on the red planet a lot depends upon the conditions it encounters during its stay.