India To Sling Mars Craft Into Sun Orbit

Thursday, 28 November 2013, 10:47 Hrs
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Bangalore: India's maiden Mars craft will sling into Sun orbit for a 280-day long voyage to reach the red planet Sep 24, 2014.

"The Orbiter entered the final orbit of earth early Wednesday for its trans-injection into the Sun orbit Sunday at 00.49 a.m. for a nine-month journey to Mars through the interplanetary space, a senior space agency official said.

The craft passed its penultimate perigee (closest to equator) to commence its four-day final orbit around earth to leave for Mars.

"A 440 Newton engine will be fired for nearly 23 minutes to sling the craft into the Sun orbit at a speed of 648 metres per second for which 190 kg of fuel will be consumed," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientific secretary V. Koteshwara Rao told reporters.

Orbiter has completed its six-orbit raising manoeuvres between Nov 7 and Nov 16 and crossed an apogee (farthest from equator) of 192,915 km.

"All is going well, Orbiter will be slung into the heliocentric (Sun) orbit towards Mars for a 680-million-long coasting distance," Rao said at the space agency's telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) in the city.

The 1,337-kg Orbiter was launched Nov 5 from Sriharikota spaceport off the Bay of Bengal, about 80 km north east of Chennai, on board a 350-tonne rocket with five scientific instruments to detect Methane in the Martian atmosphere, measure the thermal emission and capture images of the red planet from its orbit at a distance of 500 km.

"The slingshot for the trans-injection will be a complex combination of navigation and propulsion technologies, governed by the gravity of Sun and Mars," Rao said at a briefing on the 450-crore mission's next phase.

The Orbiter's trajectory will be achieved using the attitude and orbit control thrusters during the correction manoeuvres planned enroute.

Source: IANS
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