India Mars mission back on track after engine glitch

Nov 12, 2013
The PSLV-C25 rocket carrying the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at Sriharikota on November 5, 2013

India's Mars spacecraft was "successfully" raised into a higher orbit around Earth early on Tuesday, after a brief engine failure during an earlier attempt, the space agency said.

The Mars Orbiter Mission, which blasted off on November 5 for a 11-month trip to the Red Planet, is being launched on its way via an unusual "slingshot" method for interplanetary journeys.

Lacking a large enough rocket to blast directly out of Earth's atmosphere and gravitational pull, the Indian spacecraft is orbiting Earth until the end of the month while building up enough velocity to break free.

On Tuesday, the spacecraft completed a fourth repositioning to take it 100,000 kilometres (62,000 miles) from Earth, after the thruster engines failed during an attempt on Monday, leading the auto-pilot to take over.

"Fourth supplementary orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft... has been successfully completed," the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement.

The first three manoeuvres, which involve firing additional fuel into the rocket's engine, were successfully performed last week.

The ISRO said the brief on Monday was not a setback to the ambitious low-cost mission.

India has never before attempted interplanetary travel and more than half of all missions to Mars have ended in failure, including China's in 2011 and Japan's in 2003.

The cost of the project, at 4.5 billion rupees ($73 million), is less than a sixth of the $455 million earmarked for a Mars probe by NASA which will launch later this month.

ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan has called the mission a "turning point" for India's space ambitions and one which would go on to prove its capabilities in rocket technology.

Explore further: Astronauts to get 'ISSpresso' coffee machine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Indian Mars mission suffers glitch but 'no setback'

Nov 11, 2013

India's Mars spacecraft suffered a brief engine failure Monday as scientists tried to move it into a higher orbit around Earth, but controllers denied any setback to the ambitious low-cost mission.

Indian space head braced for tricky Mars challenge

Oct 31, 2013

The head of India's space agency warned Thursday of the immense complexity of sending a mission to Mars as the country prepares to send its first interplanetary probe to explore the atmosphere there.

India sets November 5 for Mars mission launch

Oct 22, 2013

Scientists on Tuesday set November 5 for the delayed launch of India's first mission to Mars, which was postponed due to problems in positioning a seaborne tracking system.

Indian Mars mission leader criticised over temple visit

Nov 07, 2013

The head of India's space agency, basking in plaudits after the launch of the country's first voyage to Mars, was brought down to earth Thursday by criticism of his decision to seek divine blessing for the mission.

India reaches for Mars on prestige space mission

Nov 03, 2013

India began a countdown Sunday to the launch of its most ambitious and risky space mission to date, sending a probe to Mars which was conceived in just 15 months on a tiny budget.

Recommended for you

European space plane set for February launch

24 minutes ago

Europe's first-ever "space plane" will be launched on February 11 next year, rocket firm Arianespace said Friday after a three-month delay to fine-tune the mission flight plan.

Space station rarity: Two women on long-term crew

25 minutes ago

For the 21st-century spacewoman, gender is a subject often best ignored. After years of training for their first space mission, the last thing Samantha Cristoforetti and Elana Serova want to dwell on is the ...

Astronauts to get 'ISSpresso' coffee machine

Nov 20, 2014

Ristretto or lungo? Not a question astronauts on the International Space Station normally have to contemplate, but that is about to change thanks to a new zero-gravity coffee machine being delivered this weekend.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.