India's Mars spacecraft to leave Earth's sphere soon

Bangalore, Nov 29 : India's maiden Mission to Mars, which was launched on Nov 5 from Sriharikota in southern state of Andhra Pradesh, would leave the Earth's sphere of influence (SOI) shortly after Saturday midnight on a nearly 300-day voyage in deep space to the red planet.

"We are planning for the Mars spacecraft to depart the Earth in the early hours of December 1," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)'s Scientific Secretary V. Koteswara Rao told a pre-event briefing at the control centre at the Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here on Wednesday

The spacecraft will leave after gathering a total escape speed of around 11.4 kms a second.

Once it reaches near Mars, the ISRO will have a major operation in September 2014 to make it orbit the planet.

The Mars Mission was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year itself and if the mission is successful India would take a giant leap forward in space programme and perhaps beat China to reaching the Red Planet first.

The PSLV carrying 'Mangalyaan' blasted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on Nov 5 with an orbiter craft designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical orbit.

The design and realisation of a Mars orbiter has been developed with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres in a cruise phase of 300 days with Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.

The mission has also been framed to explore surface features of Mars, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.

The Mangalyaan mission costed Rs. 450 crores.

If the mission succeeds, ISRO will become the fourth space agency, after those in the US, Europe and Russia to have successfully sent a spacecraft to Mars.

--IBNS (Posted on 29-11-2013)

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