India's maiden interplanetary mission to Mars –Mangalyaan—will undergo a trajectory correction manoeuvre on June 11, Indian Space Research Organisation(Isro) has said.
India's space programme reached a major milestone on November 5 last year, when it launched the Mars Orbiter Mission, commonly known as Mangalyaan from Sriharikota on an 11-month journey to find evidence of life on the Red Planet and position it as a budget player in the global space race. It is expected to enter the Mars atmosphere on September 24 this year.
This will be the second trajectory correction since the spacecraft moved out of the Earth's orbit on December 1 last year. Isro had initially planned four corrections 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.
Mangalyaan is on its 680-million-km voyage to Mars. The spacecraft has already covered two-thirds of its distance. 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.
According to sources there will be one more trajectory correction in August before the spacecraft enters the Mars atmosphere on September 24.
"The thrusters on board would be fired to steer the spacecraft to Mars during the correction. We have to do the correction to put in on the intended path. Initially we had planned the correction for February but then the deviation was within limit," said an Isro official.