Emily LakdawallaNov 30, 2013

Mars Orbiter Mission ready to fly onward from Earth to Mars

Just a quick update: Today is the day when India's Mars Orbiter Mission will fire its rocket to depart Earth and begin its 300-day journey to Mars. The rocket burn begins on December 1 at 00:49 IST (today at 19:19 UT / 11:19 PT). According to a Press Trust of India article, the 440-Newton Liquid Apogee Motor will fire for 23 minutes, adding 648 meters per second of velocity, consuming 198 kilograms of fuel. The latest mission status update says all is going well: "Performance assessment of all subsystems of the spacecraft has been completed. MOM is now ready for Trans-Mars Injection."

Mars Orbiter Mission's final trajectory adjustment
Mars Orbiter Mission's final trajectory adjustment Image: ISRO

The plan includes four trajectory correction maneuvers, the first happening on December 11 (this still according to the Press Trust of India article). The rest are in April 2014, August 2014, and then 10 days before orbit insertion in September 14.

The situation is being monitored from their mission control at ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in India. I will be keeping my eye on the Mars Orbiter Mission Facebook page to learn about the status of this most crucial maneuver -- that seems to be the place that posts Mars Orbiter Mission news first. Best of luck to ISRO!

Mars Orbiter Mission Control, ISTRAC, Bangalore
Mars Orbiter Mission Control, ISTRAC, Bangalore Mars Orbiter Mission engineers prepare for the crucial burn that will take the spacecraft out of Earth orbit and onward to Mars. Photo of the Mission Operations Complex of ISTRAC.Image: ISRO

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