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Mangalayaan completes another phase on Mars mission news
16 November 2013

Mangalyaan, India's ambitious Rs450-crore Mars orbiter mission, completed a fifth and last repositioning to take it almost two lakh km from Earth successfully on Saturday morning, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

The mission took off on 5 November, when the launch rocket entered orbit around Earth after blast-off from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.

Now, the spacecraft will brace itself for the next critical event on 1 December when it has to move out of the Earth's sphere of influence and move towards Mars.

"The fifth orbit raising manoeuvre of Mangalyaan starting at 01.27 hrs on 16 November with a burn time of 243.5 seconds has been successfully completed. The observed change in apogee is from 1,18,642km to 1,92,874km," ISRO said in a statement.

Saturday's operation was the culmination of the various steps the spacecraft has been taking since 7 November by gradually soaring to higher apogees around Earth.

After about 300 days, it will finally enter the Mars orbit on 24 September next year. The five payloads on the spacecraft will then perform various experiments to know about more about the red planet.

During the orbit raising operations, ISRO has been testing and exercising autonomy functions that are essential for Trans-Mars Injection (TMI) and Mars Orbit Insertion.

Mangalyaan is being launched on its way via an unusual "slingshot" method for interplanetary journeys. Lacking a large enough rocket to blast directly out of Earth's atmosphere and gravitational pull, the spacecraft is orbiting Earth until the end of the month while building up enough velocity to break free.

The Mars orbiter spacecraft, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was lifted off by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, which for the launch vehicle was its 25th flight.

Mangalyaan was announced 15 months ago by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, shortly after China's attempt flopped when it failed to leave Earth's atmosphere.

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Mangalayaan completes another phase on Mars mission