India’s ambitious maiden inter-planetary voyage Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), launched in November last year, has covered over 21 million km and as of today is exactly 200 days away from reaching the red planet’s orbit on September 24.
The MOM probe was travelling with a helio-centric velocity of 29km per second and radio signals sent from Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) ground stations near Bangalore takes 142 seconds to reach the spacecraft and return, Isro said.
“If everything goes as planned, MOM will get inserted into its Martian orbit around, exactly after 200 days from today,” the space agency said in a posting on its social networking site Facebook page. MOM team switched ‘ON’ and checked all the five scientific instruments on-board MOM in February 2014. The health parameters of all these instruments are normal,” Isro said.
The agency has performed six orbit raising manoeuvres around the Earth following the launch of the mission on November 5 last year from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. It further performed the Trans Mars Injection (TMI) manoeuvre on December 1 last, which gave the necessary thrust to the spacecraft to escape from Earth and to initiate the journey towards Mars, in a helio-centric Orbit.
The first Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre was conducted on December 11 last year and three such exercises are planned — next month, in August and in September. If India succeeds in sending its mission to the Mars’ orbit, it would become only the sixth in the world after the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and China to have achieved the feat.