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India's Mars spacecraft completes 100 orbits, may last several years

27 June 2015

India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, which completed its 100th orbit around Mars on 25 June 2015, is expected to stay active for many years considering its frugal use of fuel.

Mangalyaan has been able to save as much as 45 Kg of fuel, enough for it to last for many more years than its expected six months lifetime, Kiran Kumar, ISRO chief, told reporters on Friday.

The spacecraft was designed for a mission life of six months in Mars orbit, which was completed on 24 March 2015.  With this, the primary objectives of the Mars Orbiter Mission were realised, he said.

The ISRO chief was speaking on the sidelines of Indian Institute of Science Alumni Global Conference 2015 'Science for Society'.

Mars Orbiter spacecraft has outlived its prime mission life and is healthy and operational. The spacecraft, which had earlier entered the 'blackout phase' (due to Mars moving behind the Sun from Earth's perspective), is gradually coming out of that phase.

The spacecraft health data is now being analysed. ''The current elliptical orbit of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft has a periareion (nearest point to Mars) of 474 km and an apoareion (farthest point to Mars) of 71, 132 km.''  

The payloads onboard the spacecraft were last operated in May 2015, and performance of all payloads were satisfactory. Mars Colour Camera (MCC) of the spacecraft had taken 405 frames so far.

Operations of all payloads will restart in a few weeks from now, he said. 

India created history, becoming the first nation to send a probe to Mars successfully in the very first attempt, and that too through clinical precision (See: ISRO creates history as Mars orbiter Mangalyaan in place sans glitch).

What also garnered that mission widespread appreciation was the fact that not even once, did anything go wrong. From the launch to the orbit insertion, MOM for not even once, experienced any technical glitch.

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