Hello, Mars: India successfully puts Mangalyaan in Mars orbit in maiden attempt

Written by Johnson TA | Johnson TA | Bangalore | Updated: Sep 25 2014, 14:33pm hrs
Mars missionPrime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan; (top right) ISRO scientists celebrate at the control centre in Bangalore. (PTI)
India created space history on Wednesday as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully inserted its low-cost Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, or Mangalyaan, into an orbit around the Red Planet in its very first attempt.

This puts ISRO in the elite league of NASA, the European Space Agency and the erstwhile Soviet Union, which have carried out successful missions to Mars.

The insertion into Marss orbit went perfectly as planned, with the spacecraft executing on cue the time tagged commands loaded into its computer system 10 days ago by mission scientists from the Mission Operations Centre (MOX) at ISROs Telemetry, Tracking and Command (ISTRAC) facility in Peenya in north Bangalore.

The spacecraft is now circling Mars in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is at 421.7 km and farthest point (apoapsis) is at 76,993.6 km. The inclination of orbit with respect to the equatorial plane of Mars is 150 degree, as intended. In this orbit, the spacecraft takes 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds to go around Mars once, said ISRO in its official statement in the evening.

Earlier in the day, the successful mission with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance was greeted by cheers from scientists at ISROs Mission Operations Centre 2 (MOX 2).

If our national cricket team wins a tournament, the whole country celebrates. What our scientists have done is far greater, said Modi. Appreciating the low-cost nature of the project at $74 million, it costs less than the $100 million Hollywood movie Gravity he called on scientists to continue to push their boundaries further.

Stating that India had achieved the near impossible, Modi said, The odds were stacked against us. Of the 51 missions attempted across the world so far, a mere 21 had succeeded.

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