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Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 23, 2014
A month from now, India is tipped to find its place as a major global player in the field of space when the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) better known as Mangalyaan enters the Red Planet. "33 days to Mars. MOM is just 9 million km away from Mars and 189 million kms away from the Earth," says the Facebook page of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Saturday.

Isro launched the MOM in November 2013.

The spacecraft is slated to enter the Mars orbit on September 24 at 7.30 am.

" This is a very critical phase of the Mission. Our mission controllers are going through ground simulations and rehearsals to respond to contingencies," Isro chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan told HT.

A decision on whether another course correction is needed for the spacecraft will be taken on September 14.

The next great challenge is to reduce the velocity of the spacecraft to 1.6 km/sec by firing the LAM engine. The engine has been lying idle for the past 300 days and to restart it will be a great challenge.

"The firing has to be done very precisely. When we reduce the spacecraft's velocity, it should be close enough to Mars for it to be captured by the planet's gravity," an official spokesperson for Isro said.