Nearly 41 hours ahead of the actual insertion of Mangalyaan into Mars, the Indian Space Research Organisation(Isro) is bracing itself for a test fire of the liquid apogee motor (LAM)inside the spacecraft on September 22.
The spacecraft is slated to enter the Mars atmosphere on September 22 at around 7.30 am. The 440 Newton engine inside the spacecraft has been lying idle for nearly 300 days. The first prolonged firing of the engine that occurred on November 29 last year, had catapulted the spacecraft out of its geocentric orbit into a heliocentric orbit.
“Yes, we will do a test fire of the 440N liquid apogee motor (LAM) on board the spacecraft on September 22. There are many strategies that have to be planned. Different groups are working on it and we will finally know the minute details next week,” Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan told HT.
According to sources in Isro, the test firing that will be done for nearly 4 seconds will ascertain if all the connections are proper. “ The oxidizer and fuel valves have to be connected to the LAM.”
As per the latest update on the facebook page of Isro, Mangalyaan is less than 6 million kms away from Mars and is travelling with a velocity of 22 km/sec.
On November 5 last year, Isro put Mangalyaan on an 11-month journey to find evidence of life on the Red Planet and position itself as a budget player in the global space race.
Probes to Mars have a high failure rate. Of the 51 missions so far, only 21 have been successful. A similar mission by China, which beat India to the moon, failed in 2011. Only the US, Europe, and Russia have sent probes that have orbited or landed on the planet.