Published on November 13th, 2013 | by Rachek0
India: Mars mission
India launches its first unmanned spacecraft to Mars.
India’s maiden mission to Mars was successfully launched on Tuesday sending an unmanned spacecraft to the Red Planet, which will search for evidence of life. The probe is expected to reach Mars in September 2014.
On Tuesday, the 5th of November, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched a rocket carrying scientific-research probe. The Mangalyaan spacecraft (the name is Hindi for “Mars Craft”) onboard a PSLV-C25 launch vehicle was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. It is the first probe ever to be launched by India toward Mars.
It will take the probe 300 days to reach the orbit of Mars.
ISRO chairman Koppilil Radhakrishnan reports that besides finding evidence of life, the aim of the mission is to demonstrate the level of space technologies of India. “However at present, our primary task is to ensure successful probe’s arrival to the Mars orbit,” said ISRO chairman.
The Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh informed that the main task of the Mangalyaan spacecraft is to find evidence of life and to determine the cause of atmosphere disappearance on the Red Planet. “Our spacecraft will orbit Mars and it will collect data about the planet from its orbit,” he said.
Manmohan Singh believes that this step shows India’s progress in science and technology.
According to analysts, India aims to join the “club” of states, which explore the Red Planet. So far only NASA, Soviet Union and Europeans managed to send probes to Mars. Neither of Asian countries has by far succeeded in this.
British landing spacecraft Beagle 2 was sent on a mission to Mars that formed part of the European Space Agency’s 2003 Mars Express mission. All contact with it was lost upon its separation from the Mars Express six days before its scheduled entry into the atmosphere.
In 1998 Japan also made an attempt to send its probe Nazomi to the Red Planet, but it was unable to achieve Mars orbit due to electrical failures.
The first Chinese probe Yinghuo-1 was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on 8 November 2011, along with the Russian Fobos-Grunt sample return spacecraft in 2011. Shortly after launch, Fobos-Grunt was expected to perform two burns to depart Earth orbit. However, these burns did not take place, leaving both probes stranded in orbit. Later Yinghuo-1 was declared lost by the CNSA. Yinghuo-1 and Fobos-Grunt burnt out during the re-entry.
So, if ISRO mission proves successful, India will become the first Asian country to “achieve” Mars.
At the same time ISRO ex-chairman Madhavan Nair criticized the ISRO mission being too expensive. He also pointed out that it was poorly thought out and not thoroughly prepared.