Mangalyaan's first mid-course correction successful

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 11, 2013 09:17 IST

The first Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre of India's maiden interplanetary mission to Mars was on Wednesday carried out successfully by Isro scientists on the spacecraft, which is presently travelling some 2.9 million km away from Earth.

"The first Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM) of Spacecraft was carried out successfully at 06:30 hrs (IST) by firing the 22 Newton Thrusters for a duration of 40.5 seconds. The spacecraft is travelling at a distance of about 29 lakh (2.9 million) km away from Earth," ISRO said in a statement.

The TCMs fine tune the trajectory of the spacecraft to keep it travelling in the intended track towards the red planet.

Today's correction was carried out by the computer on board the spacecraft, since the amount of time required for the signal to go and return was about 20 seconds, as MOM was already travelling about some 2.9 million km away, ISRO said.

"MOM team is gaining hands-on experience in handling the communication delay as it keeps increasing gradually," it said.

The spacecraft had moved out of the Earth’s orbit on December 1. The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has planned four TCMs during its journey to Mars. The manoeuvres are needed to keep the spacecraft on the required path. It is also essential for maintaining the required velocity.

"The eight thrusters on board will be fired precisely to steer the MOM to Mars during the Trajectory Manoevure Correction (TMC). Our navigation team has now got a precise understanding of the precise trajectory of MOM based on the range and velocity data acquired over the several days since the Trans-Mars Injection (TMI). Now is the time to eliminate the minor deviations in the trajectory," Isro said.

Mangalyaan is on its 680-million-km voyage to Mars. If it makes it, India will join a select club comprising the US, Russia and Europe. Once in the Mars orbit, the orbiter’s five payloads will then start performing experiments for the next six months.



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