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Saturday, July 22, 2017


Mission Overview:

     Mangalyaan was the first interplanetary probe of India to reach Mars which was called Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). It made India's first venture into the interplanetary space. Mangalyaan was launched on 5 November 2013 and it was carried by (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) PSLV-XL C25 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre. It was planned to explore and observe Martian surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Mars atmosphere after its arrival on 24 September 2014.

Mission Proposal:

     The Mangalyaan mission was mainly designed for the search of Methane in martian atmosphere and it will give clue for possibility of past or present life on the planet. It had many modern technologies to face and cover the challenge of far long distance of planet from earth. 

     After leaving the earth, the orbiter will have endure the interplanetary space for 300 days before reaching Mars, apart from the space communications and navigation guidance control capabilities, the mission will require autonomy at the spacecraft end to handle contingencies.But India decided to go Mars and never wanted to miss nearest launch window, next launch would be possible after 780 days in 2016.

Start of Mission:

     Mangalyaan mission was officially started with its launch on 5 November 2013 and the mission operation began on 24 September 2014 after its successful orbital insertion. It was launched with PSLV-XL C25 (XL- is one of the world's most reliable launch vehicles). This XL variant was earlier used to launch Chandrayaan in 2008, GSAT-12 in 2011 and RISAT-1 in 2012.
Spacecraft Design and Tracking:

    MOM was based on I-1K bus satellite which has been providing reliability over the years. Similar bus was also used in Chandrayaan, Indian Remote Sensing, Indian National Satellites. Mom has a total fuel of 850 kg of fuel and 5 scientific Payloads. The orbiter is being tracked by Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) located outside Bangalore. IDSN's 32 m and 18 m diameter antennas are being complemented by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Deep Space network.

Scientific Payloads:
  • LAP - Lyman-Alpha Photometer
  • MSM - Methane Sensor for Mars
  • MENCA - Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser
  • TIS - Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer
  • MCC - Mars Colour Camera

 The total weight of these five instruments is 15 kg installed in Mars Orbiter Mission

Mission Objectives:

Primary Mission Objectives:
  • Orbit manoeuvres to transfer spacecraft from earth orbit to martian orbit
  • Computational analysis for orbital forces
  • Navigation phases
  • Maintain spacecraft in phases of mission
  • Autonomous features for contingency handling
  • Meeting the requirements for communications, thermal and payload operations`

Scientific Objectives:
  • Exploring Mars by observing and studying the morphology, topography and mineralogy
  • Study the atmosphere and to search the presence of Methane and CO2 using remote sensing techniques
  • Study the upper atmosphere and its effects of solar wind and radiation on it.
  • If mission extends it would also provide opportunities to observe the Martian moon "Phobos".

Technical Details:
  • The spacecraft bus was modified I-1-K
  • Total lift-up mass is 1,337.2 kilograms
  • Solar panels that could produce 840 watts and stored in 36 Ah Lithium-ion battery
  • Propulsion was provided by 440 newtons thrust engine
  • It carried five scientific instruments of 15 kilograms

Instruments Description:
  • MENCA - Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser
    • The main scientific objective is to study the neutral composition and density distribution of Martian exosphere from an altitude of 370 km and beyond, and to study its radial, diurnal, and possibly seasonal variations. This would help in understanding the escape of the Martian atmosphere.
  • LAP - Lyman-Alpha Photometer
    • It is a far-ultraviolet scientific instrument to measure the distribution of Deutrium and Hydrogen in Martian Exosphere.
  • MCC - Mars Colour Camera
    • It is a multi-purpose versatile camera with RGB Bayer pattern to image various morphological features on Mars. It also expected to observe and provide information  about events like dust storms and dust devils
  • MSM - Methane Sensor for Mars
    • It a differential radiometer based on Fabry-Perot filters operating in short wave infrared region. It used to detect Methane by absorption of mathane in the first channel
  • TIS - Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer
    • It is a grating based spectrometer which will be used to measure the thermal emission from Martian surface. It will be useful to determine the surface temperature of Mars
Current Status:

     Mangalyaan is currently active on Mars and sending information to us. First year data was released on ISSDC website. To see first year of MOM archived data. Click Mangalyaan First Year data archive.

Further References:

  1. Click to see images from Mars Colour Camera 
  2. List of Mars Orbiter Mission Publications 
  3. Announcement of Opportunity to use Mangalyaan data 
  4. Release of Mars Atlas with celebration of 1 year on Mars.


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