India’s First Mars Mission Launches Flawlessly on Historic Journey to the Red Planet

by Ken Kremer on November 5, 2013

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Blastoff of the Indian developed Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5, 2013 from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Credit: ISRO

WOW MOM !
Blastoff of the Indian developed Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5, 2013 from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Credit: ISRO

India flawlessly launched its first ever mission to Mars today (Nov. 5) to begin a history making ten month long interplanetary voyage to the Red Planet that’s aimed at studying the Martian atmosphere and searching for methane after achieving orbit.

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) thundered to space atop the nations four stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) precisely on time at 14:38 hrs IST (9:08 UTC, 4:08 a.m. EST) from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, off India’s east coast.

“Our journey to Mars begins now!” announced an elated ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan at the ISRO spaceport during a live broadcast of MOM’s launch from the mission control center. “We achieved orbit and we can all be proud.”

Flawless liftoff of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5, 2013 from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Credit: ISRO

Flawless liftoff of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5, 2013 from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Credit: ISRO

This was the 25th launch of India’s highly reliable 44 meter (144 foot) tall PSLV booster.

The 700,000 pound thrust PSLV rocket launched in its most powerful, extended XL version with six strap on solid rocket motors.

Launch of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5, 2013 from Sriharikota, India. Credit: ISRO

Launch of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5, 2013 from Sriharikota, India. Credit: ISRO

“I’m extremely happy to announce that the PSLV-C25 vehicle has placed the Mars orbiter spacecraft very precisely into an elliptical orbit around Earth of 247 x 23556 kilometers with an inclination of 19.2 degrees,” Radhakrishnan said, after “much meticulous planning and hard work by everyone.”

ISRO announced that MOM separated from the PSLV 4th stage as planned some 44 minutes after liftoff and that the solar panels successfully deployed.

Confirmation of the 4th stage ignition and spacecraft separation was transmitted by ship-borne terminals aboard a pair of specially dispatched tracking ships – SCI Nalanda and SCI Yamuna – stationed by ISRO in the South Pacific Ocean.

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) streaks to orbit after launch on Nov. 5, 2013.  Credit: ISRO

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) streaks to orbit after launch on Nov. 5, 2013. Credit: ISRO

MOM was designed and developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in near record time after receiving approval from the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in August 2012.

“No mission is beyond our capability”, said Radhakrishnan. “MOM is a huge step taking India beyond Earth’s influence for the first time.”

A series of six burns over the next month will raise the apogee and put MOM on a trajectory for Mars around December 1.

Following a 300 day interplanetary cruise phase, the do or die Mars orbital insertion firing by the main engine on September 24, 2014 will place MOM into an 366 km x 80,000 km elliptical orbit.

If all continues to goes well with MOM, India will join an elite club of four who have launched probes that successfully investigated the Red Planet from orbit or the surface – following the Soviet Union, the United States and the European Space Agency (ESA).

MOM is the first of two new Mars orbiter science probes from Earth blasting off for the Red Planet this November. Half a globe away, NASA’s $671 Million MAVEN orbiter remains on target to launch barely two weeks after MOM on Nov. 18 – from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The 1,350 kilogram (2,980 pound) MOM orbiter is also known as ‘Mangalyaan’ – which in Hindi means ‘Mars craft.’

Graphic shows MOM’s initial orbit around Earth after successful Nov. 5 launch. Credit: ISRO

Graphic shows MOM’s initial orbit around Earth after successful Nov. 5 launch. Credit: ISRO

Although the main objective is a demonstration of technological capabilities, the probe is equipped with five indigenous instruments to conduct meaningful science – including a multi color imager and a methane gas sniffer to study the Red Planet’s atmosphere, morphology, mineralogy and surface features. Methane on Earth originates from both geological and biological sources – and could be a potential marker for the existence of Martian microbes.

MOM’s 15 kg (33 lb) science suite comprises:

MCM: the tri color Mars Color Camera images the planet and its two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos

LAP: the Lyman Alpha Photometer measures the abundance of hydrogen and deuterium to understand the planets water loss process

TIS: the Thermal Imaging Spectrometer will map surface composition and mineralogy

MENCA: the Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser is a quadrapole mass spectrometer to analyze atmospheric composition

MSM: the Methane Sensor for Mars measures traces of potential atmospheric methane down to the ppm level.

Scientists will be paying close attention to whether MOM detects any atmospheric methane to compare with measurements from NASA’s Curiosity rover – which found ground level methane to be essentially nonexistent – and Europe’s upcoming 2016 ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter.

MOM and MAVEN will arrive nearly simultaneously in Mars orbit next September – joining Earth’s invasion fleet of five operational orbiters and intrepid surface rovers currently unveiling the mysteries of the Red Planet.

Both MAVEN and MOM’s goal is to study the Martian atmosphere , unlock the mysteries of its current atmosphere and determine how, why and when the atmosphere and liquid water was lost – and how this transformed Mars climate into its cold, desiccated state of today.

Although they were developed independently and have different suites of scientific instruments, the MAVEN and MOM science teams will “work together” to unlock the secrets of Mars atmosphere and climate history, MAVEN’s top scientist told Universe Today.

“We have had some discussions with their science team, and there are some overlapping objectives,” Bruce Jakosky told me. Jakosky is MAVEN’s principal Investigator from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“At the point where we [MAVEN and MOM] are both in orbit collecting data we do plan to collaborate and work together with the data jointly,” Jakosky said.

The $69 Million ‘Mangalyaan’ mission is expected to continue gathering measurements at the Red Planet for about six to ten months and hopefully much longer.

Stay tuned here for continuing MAVEN and MOM news and my MAVEN launch reports from on site at the Kennedy Space Center press center.

Ken Kremer

It’ s a Mind-Blowing Midnight Marvel !  Fueled PSLV rocket and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) awaits Nov. 5 blastoff.  Credit: ISRO.  Watch ISRO’s Live  Webcast

It’ s a Mind-Blowing Midnight Marvel ! Fueled PSLV rocket and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) await Nov. 5 blastoff. Credit: ISRO

…………….

Learn more about MAVEN, MOM, Mars rovers, Orion and more at Ken’s upcoming presentations

Nov 14-19: “MAVEN Mars Launch and Curiosity Explores Mars, Orion and NASA’s Future”, Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, 8 PM

Dec 11: “Curiosity, MAVEN and the Search for Life on Mars”, “LADEE & Antares ISS Launches from Virginia”, Rittenhouse Astronomical Society, Franklin Institute, Phila, PA, 8 PM

Blastoff of the Indian developed Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5, 2013 from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Credit: ISRO

Blastoff of the Indian developed Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5, 2013 from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Credit: ISRO

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com

Edison A Thomas November 8, 2013 at 7:09 AM

if this cyclone really did the expected , i wouldnt support this forum or isro mom …

Edison A Thomas November 8, 2013 at 7:13 AM

You creep , yet again !
I would bribe indian politicians to waste money on a 7.5k $ drain to your mouth for your favorite – faeces & piss
:D

LOL

Thomas guide November 8, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Lovely and how long can you sustain yourself on faith and memories?

zlop November 8, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Similar to the famines during the historical Empire days,
United Nations wants cripple the the ability of countries like
India to progress — Carbon Taxes, Malthusian policies . .. …

Thomas guide November 8, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Nobody is trying to keep anything down. The only thing keeping you down is your government by burning cash on dumb Mars missions.

zlop November 8, 2013 at 2:20 PM

“Nobody is trying to keep anything down.” ?
By policy, the UNelected Nations are preventing development.
(search for Agenda 21 — Climate fraud — Banking debt . .. )
Although India is caught up in it, why criticize a positive event ?

Thomas guide November 8, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy in government policy and spending. There are way too many problems that should take precedence over a Mars mission.

virender Singh November 9, 2013 at 6:04 AM

good job

virender Singh November 9, 2013 at 6:09 AM

space exploration requires international cooperation.We should praise all the efforts done by whichever country beyond our religion and borders as one world.

Uday November 10, 2013 at 7:28 AM

You can also think it the other way. While US wasted 100 million on a space related movie Gravity, India utilized only 75 million for a real Mars mission.

Thomas guide November 11, 2013 at 1:43 PM

That’s a business that makes money. It’s not the same thing. Your Mars mission is not going to generate a profit for you, it’s a loss. I’m sure the producers of Gravity are pretty happy with the amount of money that film made for them. The money was not wasted, they used it to make more.

Uday November 12, 2013 at 12:15 AM

We are thinking of the long run, if INDIA succeeds, it will generate billions when foreign agencies will outsource their missions to INDIA. Pure business, nothing else. And in business, you have to take risk.

Thomas guide November 12, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Let’s face it the only reason you are doing this is to show Pakistan that your are superior and to show the United States that you can compete. It is not about a business.

Uday November 13, 2013 at 5:03 AM

I have nothing to face. Its business and not to show off any one. Pakistan is our neighbour. We were brothers and sisters before partition. We know what they can and they know what we can. Nothing to show off. And we still take technical technical help from US. But till there are people like you in this world, there will be no space age. It seems you are having hard time to face the truth.

Thomas guide November 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

That’s great, now implement those sanitation techniques in the entire country.

Thomas guide November 11, 2013 at 2:44 PM

All I’m saying is that people in government have their priorities all mixed up. They don’t seem to understand what really matters. Ask someone in the poorest part of your country if they care about Mars. Chances are they don’t, they want to improve their living conditions and and get food on the table. This is what matters to most people. Mars and outer space can wait.

Thomas guide November 12, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Nonsense! Where is the evidence? And even if that was all true what have you done with that great knowledge? Your country is dirt poor your people live in horrid filth and bathe in lakes and rivers. You have animals roaming your streets like it’s a zoo. Just because a civilization was once great (and I don’t agree that was) that doesn’t mean it is still great today. Take care of your poor first before you launch Mars missions. You invented zero alright that is the sum of your current knowledge.

Trooper November 12, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Lol, I provided nuanced, credible and peer reviewed sources as proof (Synonym for evidence) of the claims the original commenter made. Which is what you had asked for. Or atleast I had hoped it was such a genuine intellectual inquiry.

The onus of looking up those sources in detail falls upon you, not me.

But then again, I took another look at your other comments in this section and I realize … you’re just another mildly amusing troll.

I could provide you detailed achievements (with proof) of the Indian people, post British Raj, I could give you ample examples of various Indians in every field including Science, Technology, Art, Medicine, etc etc.
But then, it wouldn’t matter would it…you’re not here for an intellectual debate, you’re not here for the Science, you’re not here for facts.

You’re here just to troll, which is fine as well. I’ll just take it as another reminder of work we still have left to do.

But that’s the thing though. We’ll do it our way. And our way involves creation of jobs more than throwing money at people. I know it won’t matter to you that we’re the only nation that is on track to relieving the 2015 UNO goals regarding poverty…But it is in this manner we’ll solve our problems. By creating a sustainable situation. That includes parallel development in Science and Technology. And this mission is just another stepping stone in that direction.

Lol, I remember they said the same things you’re saying when we were creating a 25 Million $ Optic fiber network in the country. We now have a ~10 Billion $ IT industry which helped raise 200 million people from depths of Poverty…

So, cheers for the reminder mate..

Thomas guide November 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Ending the space age would be a good thing for all countries. It’s a giant waste of money. There’s nothing up there.

Thomas guide November 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM

You bore me peasant.

Trooper November 13, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Oh, no doubt, no doubt.
Most trolls find me kinda boring.

So have a nice day. Cheerio.

Proud American December 1, 2013 at 9:23 AM

@[Thomas guide] – from reading thru all of your insulting, derogatory and condescending posts… in summary, go get your brains checked out – you have a problem. I’m gonna tell you something and don’t fuckin bother having a dialog by replying – let’s keep the shit simple. I am simply not going to respond to your 3rd grade educated, very sparingly used grey-matter.

i’m a PROUD American of Indian origin; I hold a fantastic education, a fantastic job. You on the other hand, are a stupid and have no logic up above your pelvis let alone in your brain. Here’s the thing, you have huge mental development problems. So, i will pause there and have you read this, “Matthew 7:3″

As a developed human being, one does many things in parallel. We deal w/ problems, we make advancements in our achievements, we juggle many things in the air. One is not contingent upon completing the other task. Get it, “Parallel tasks”. Of course in your case, you’re stuck in your numb-skull shit-hole – which is where you belong. Don’t be a bully and degrade USA w/ your stupid, non-intelligent protozoan one-working-cell. Not all Americans are like you, we are proud of what we stand for as Americans and majority of us do. You surely are a complete misfit.

What India has done here w/ this mission is a major development. Did you know ISRO was one of the oldest space organizations. Did you know majority of NASA scientists have indian origins. Don’t ask me for proof, go fuckin search it for yourself if you have any brain cells left that are working. Intelligence does not have to justify itself or prove itself. You on the other hand got a lot of work to do and you have proven your low level of IQ and intolerable mockery of this advancement w/ your poor brain development.

don’t degrade MY proud USA w/ your stupid comments. You should have embraced development, embraced multi-culture, and the passion for innovation, invention, discovery.

Albeit, w/ your stupidity, your comments have relentlessly attempted to impose racist insults. So shut the fuck up and go back to your rat-hole; and again, don’t bother commenting – all of your comments were and remain worthless and don’t add any value to this intellectual conversation. You’re a fool and certain things can’t be explained to fools like you. You are disgracing the Americans w/ your poor brain adaptation to the global culture (recall, the “world is flat” – of course you don’t) and ill-educated commentary and misrepresenting the ideals of the USA. You clearly have no idea of “the American ideals” – t’was very evident in your posts history.

Proud Americans set a strong standard and the love for all human kind. I’m a proud American and I believe what India has accomplished is a huge milestone in the history of space – *whether they’re successful at it or not is not the point here*. But, the attempt to go bigger is worth the attention and praise.

…while “@Thomas guide” can go fuck himself in his drudgery and plodding w/ disgrace.

Thomas guide December 2, 2013 at 2:36 PM

That’s funny haha, except for there is no life on Mars for a reason. And you’re going to somehow recreate the conditions on Earth over there. Good luck with that plan.

zlop November 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Appreciate opportunity — Matthew 26:11 “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me”

Thomas guide November 8, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Please don’t quote nonsense from the bible.

zlop November 8, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Corruption will always exist — “Make hay while the sun shines”

Thomas guide November 8, 2013 at 2:58 PM

It must be nice to go through life clueless.

zlop November 8, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Another Bible Idea — “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin”– until trampled by a cow, or covered by ice in the coming Ice Age.

Thomas guide November 10, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Just shut up dude you’re not helping your people with that religious crap.

zlop November 10, 2013 at 10:51 PM

Similarity between the mind control of the UNelected Malthusian Carbon pollution Gaia worshipers and ancient religions.
(leaves the Serfs vulnerable to calamities — Lilies trampled, getting hit by a meteorite, Ice Age crop failure famine)

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