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Mangalyaan off Earth’s influence area tonight

india Updated: Nov 30, 2013 17:14 IST
Vanita Srivastava
Vanita Srivastava
Hindustan Times
Indian Space Research Organisation

The Indian Space Research Organisation is gearing itself for the critical event of moving Mangalyaan out of the Earth’s sphere of influence, a little after Saturday midnight.

The Trans-Mars Injection, as it is called, will slingshot Mangalyaan into its heliocentric orbit towards Mars.

“The 680 million km long interplanetary voyage begins with the mother of all slingshots, code-named Trans-Mars Injection scheduled for December 1 at 00:49 Hrs,” said a senior Isro scientist adding: “All systems have to be calibrated precisely and the burn time will also be slightly longer around 1300 seconds and will impart an incremental velocity of 648 metres per second consuming a fuel of 198kgs.”

The Facebook page on Isro Mars stated, “This voyage to Mars is achieved by a complex combination of navigation and propulsion technologies, governed by the gravity of Sun and Mars, and assisted by the 440 N Liquid engine. Further fine tuning of the trajectory is achieved using the Attitude and Orbit Control Thrusters during the Trajectory Correction manoeuvres planned en route.”

After the spacecraft moves out of Earth’s orbit, there could be some mid course corrections. It will move into the Mars orbit on September 24, 2014.

MOM’s escape challenge

“To get thrown out of Earth’s orbit, towards Mars, with the right velocity, in the right direction and at the right time — that’s MOM’s escape challenge,” read Isro’s Facebook page 14 hours before the trans-Mars injection, scheduled for around 2am.

“While MOM leaves the cradle of Earth, we need to rely on Sun’s gravity and laws of the universe to deliver it to Mars at the right epoch. This is Isro’s first-ever experience of hurling a spacecraft beyond Earth’s sphere of influence. This trans-Mars injection… will herald a new era of interplanetary missions for India.”