More reports on: Indian Space Research Organisation
ISRO's Mars Orbiter spacecraft travels past lunar orbit news
03 December 2013

Two days after successfully injecting its Mars Orbiter into a trans-Mars trajectory, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Monday that the spacecraft had travelled past the Moon's orbit (a distance of 3,85,000 km) by the morning of 2 December 2013, and was beyond a distance of 5,36,000 km by 17:00 hrs (IST) on the day.

ISRO said a thunderstorm in South Africa, which struck above a ground station identified to track the "crucial moment", had resulted in a five-minute delay in tracking the spacecraft on Sunday.

"Seconds before the firing of the liquid engine for the crucial Trans-Mars injection on Sunday, a thunderstorm struck the Hartebeesthoek (HBK) ground station in South Africa, which was identified for monitoring this operation," ISRO said in its official  social networking page on Facebook.

However, ISRO said the on-board computers handled the operations as planned helping it to complete the difficult and crucial manoeuvre.

"This resulted in a data loss, leading to a five minute delay in the confirmation of firing. The on-board computer dexterously handled the operations as planned and the liquid engine too performed flawlessly injecting India into interplanetary space," the Facebook page said late on Monday.

ISRO has planned four mid-course corrections in case the spacecraft shows any deviation on its path to the Martian orbit before it reaches the Martian orbit in September 2014, as scheduled.

ISRO had performed five orbit-raising manoeuvres on its Mars Orbiter, raising its farthest distance from Earth to over 1,92,000 km before it performed the latest manoeuvre to push it towards the Martian orbit.

The 1,350-kg 'Mangalyaan' spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu.

ISRO's PSLV C 25 injected the Orbiter into orbit around Earth about 44 minutes after launch at 2.38 pm from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on 5 November, marking the successful completion of the first stage of the Rs450-crore mission.

(See: ISRO places `Manglyaan' on a trajectory towards Mars)

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ISRO's Mars Orbiter spacecraft travels past lunar orbit