India’s Mars mission set for 24 September rendezvous with the red planet

13 May 2014


India's maiden mission to Mars `Mangalyaan' is on course to reach the Martian orbit on 24 September, as planned, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K Radhakrishnan said on Monday.

"Mars mission is going well and will reach the orbit on September 24, 2014," he said dismissing doubts expressed by certain quarters over the success of the mission.

Speaking at a felicitation function organised by The Institute of Engineers India in Thiruvananthapuram, Radhakrishnan said, 'Mangalyaan'' would make ISRO and the people of the country proud "as it will be a major milestone for ISRO."

The Mars orbiter spacecraft crosses the half way mark of its journey towards the Red planet on 9 April 2014 and was on its designated helio-centric trajectory.

Radhakrishnan said it now took four minutes for a signal from the ground station to reach the spacecraft, which launched from Sriharikota on 5 November 2013.

He said ISRO has planned many more missions, which are under different stages, including the experimental mission of GSLV-MARK 3 with crew module for country's human space flight mission.

ISRO's rating among the countries with space missions had gone up, Radhakrishnan said, adding a USA-based bench mark agency has placed the Indian agency in sixth place.

ISRO had 10 successful launches during the last one year, he said, adding, "ISRO uses its resources judiciously for the benefit of the society."

ISRO has been continuously monitoring the Mars orbiter spacecraft using its Deep Space Network complemented by that of NASA-JPL.

As the spacecraft is on its designated trajectory, the TCM planned for April 2014 was not considered essential. The next TCM is planned to be carried out in June 2014.

Mars orbiter spacecraft and its five scientific instruments are in good health. Periodic tests are being made on the different levels of autonomy built into the spacecraft for managing contingencies, according to an ISRO statement issued last month.

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