Technicians are seen near the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. (AP photo)
Technicians inspect the PSLV-C25 at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. (PTI photo)
Technicians inspect the PSLV-C25 at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. (AP photo)
Paramilitary soldiers stand guard at the control station for the mission to Mars at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. (AP photo)
A technician monitors the functions of the PSLV-C25 at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. (PTI photo)
Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan holds a model of Mars orbiter at his office in New Delhi. (AP photo)
Central Industrial Security Force personnel stand guard near the PSLV-C25 at the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota. (AP photo)
Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan and his wife Padmini are seen at the Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala in Tirupati. (PTI photo)
India will take its next major step forward in the space programme, after the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1 in 2008, when scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) launch their maiden mission to Mars on Tuesday, at 2:38pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
PSLV-C25, the 25th mission of PSLV and fifth in the XL configuration, will carry the 1,337 kg Mars Orbiter Satellite into a 250 km X 23,500 km elliptical orbit. The cost of the mission is Rs. 450 crore.
The 56 hours 30 minute countdown for the launch started on Sunday at 6.08am.
The coasting phase between the third stage (PS3) burn-out and the fourth-stage (PS4) ignition is longer for this mission. The total flight duration before the Orbiter is injected is nearly 40 minutes. This is longer than the average time of 20 minutes for earlier spacecrafts.
“There are several technological and scientific challenges in this mission. This is India’s first interplanetary mission. We had to calibrate our hardware to withstand a territory not experienced before,” Isro chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan said.
Comment: Mars Orbiter Mission is an incredibly low-budget mission
The spacecraft will move from the Earth’s sphere of influence and go to the heliocentric (sun-centric) orbit on December 1, 2013 at 12:42pm. It will remain in the trans-Martian orbit for nearly 300 days before finally entering the Mars orbit on September 24, 2014. It will then have to be re-oriented and slowed down to enter the Martian orbit or else it will vanish.
The Orbiter has five indigenously-designed payloads to carry different scientific experiments once it reaches the Martian atmosphere. The Methane Sensor is specifically designed to measure methane and map its sources on Mars.
The Mars-men: Indian scientists who made Mars Orbiter Mission possible
Science and faith: Ahead of Mars mission, temple run goes hand in hand with rocket science
One of the main objectives of this mission is to develop technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
The launch window for the MOM mission is from October 28, 2013 to November 19, 2013.
Here's ISRO's facebook post on the eve of the launch:
Here's what ISRO had tweeted on Sunday about the mission:
More: Mars mission to boost India's credentials for global missions