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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Now we are eight: India's Mars Orbiter Mission reaches Mars


With MOM's successful rendezvous, the number of active spacecraft now studying the planet rises to eight.

Today's maneuver was a bit of a nail biter because the laws of orbital mechanics required the autonomous engine burn to take place while the MOM probe was flying behind Mars and out of telemetry contact with Earth. If the engine fired incorrectly, the craft would either have been hurled back into deep space or burned up in the Martian atmosphere. However, when contact was reestablished, mission control in Bangalore confirmed that MOM had settled into its proper elliptical orbit of 423 x 80,000 km (263 x 49,710 mi) with a period of 3.2 Earth days.

MOM was launched on November 5, 2013 from the ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the island of Sriharikota atop a PSLV-C25 rocket and is India's first interplanetary mission. Designed as a technology demonstrator to show what the republic is capable of in the field of space science, MOM reached Mars after a journey of almost a year, during which it carried out a complex series of orbital maneuvers around the Earth to build up enough speed to send it on an interplanetary trajectory.

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