Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Mangalyaan update: Testing of main engine underway

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

09-10-2012 11:25 CDT

Topics: mission status, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)

Pradeep Mohandas emailed me last night with a link to an article published in today's Times of India with a progress update on India's 2013 Mars mission. Evidently the Liquid Apogee Motor -- the spacecraft's main engine -- is already built and is now undergoing testing. (This suggests to me that the mission was already being developed before it was announced in August, but I'm no expert in spacecraft design and construction, so I wouldn't really know.)

The brief article has various other details about the mission plan, some of which are news to me:

  • The October or November 2013 launch will place Mangalyaan into Earth orbit.
  • Six engine firings will raise that orbit to one with an apogee of 215,000 kilometers and a perigee of 600 kilometers.
  • On November 26, 2013, a final firing will send Mangalyaan onto an interplanetary trajectory.
  • Mars Orbit Insertion is planned for September 21, 2014.

The article concludes "An Isro official said the real challenge in the mission is that the engine has to restart after 300 days when the orbiter enters the Martian orbit." This is certainly true; it's a challenge that ISRO has yet to face, and it will definitely be a key moment in the mission. It's also a challenge that neither of the other two Asian space powers -- China and Japan -- have yet accomplished. Really, just arriving at Mars with an operational spacecraft would be a singular achievement; anything after that is gravy.

I wish I had better artwork of Mangalyaan than this...hopefully someone will spot something in Indian media and forward it to me. Or maybe one of you talented readers skilled in 3D modeling could throw something together.

Mangalyaan

ISRO

Mangalyaan
Artist's concept of ISRO's Mangalyaan Mars orbiter.
 
See other posts from October 2012

 

Or read more blog entries about: mission status, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)

Comments:

sanman: 10/09/2012 03:15 CDT

It's possible that ISRO is reusing the same engine from its Chandrayaan lunar orbiter. As long as it can meet the Mars specs, then it shouldn't be a problem.

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

LightSail - Flight by Light

Support LightSail!

In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.

I want to help!

Featured Images

The Face of a Comet

Antares
Hayabusa 2 and DCAM3
Hayabusa 2 at Gate Position
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!