India’s Mars Orbiter Marks Half Way Point on it’s Journey

India Mangalyaan mars Orbiter

India Mangalyaan mars Orbiter

In it’s bid to join the U.S and Russia in successful mission to the red planet, India’s Mangalyaan Orbiter passed the half way point to Mars on April 09, 2014 at 9:50 am IST,
The Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was launched on November 05, 2013. Lacking the fuel to go directly to Mars it executed a trans Mars injection burn on December 01, 2013, This maneuver placed it on a course towards Planet Mars through a helio-centric trajectory. Soon after the Spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a Trajectory Correction ,maneuver was performed successfully on December 11, 2013.

The Indian Space agency has been continuously monitoring the Spacecraft using its Deep Space Network complemented by that of NASA-JPL. As the Spacecraft is on its designated trajectory. If required, the next TCM is planned to be carried out in June 2014.

Related: How did India launch a Mars Mission at such a low cost?

Mars Orbiter Spacecraft and its five scientific instruments are in good health. Periodic tests are being done on the different levels of autonomy built into the Spacecraft for managing contingencies.

At present, the radio distance between the Spacecraft and the Earth is 39 million km. A signal from the Earth to the Spacecraft and back to Earth takes 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Soon, the High Gain Antenna of the Spacecraft will be put in service for handling communications with the ground stations.

Related: India’s Mission To Mars on it’s way

The Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) maneuver will be performed on September 24, 2014.

About the author

Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.