India launches Mangalyaan, Rs.450-crore mission to Mars, from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh
2.38 pm: Indian
rocket carrying the country's first Mars orbiter on Tuesday took off
from the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here in Andhra
Exactly at 2.38 p.m., the rocket -- Polar Satellite
Launch Vehicle-C25 (PSLV-C25) --standing around 44 metres tall and
weighing around 320 tonnes hurtled towards the heavens with orange
flames fiercely burning at its tail.
The space centre is around 80 km north of Chennai.
total project cost is around Rs.450 crore with the rocket costing
around Rs.110 crore, orbiter around Rs.150 crore and the balance spent
on beefing up the ground support and tracking systems.
scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) rocket mission
control room were intently watching the rocket escaping the earth's
gravitational pull with a one-way ticket.
India launches Mangalyaan, Rs.450-crore mission to Mars, from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.
The heat shield had separated as scheduled and the mission was on track, an ISRO official said.
ISRO officials are hoping that the agency's crucial space mission will turn out to be a grand success.
The PSLV-C25 rocket is expected to spit out its only luggage, the 1,340 kg Mars orbiter.
The entire flight sequence -- lift-off to the satellite ejection -- will
take around 44 minutes -- nearly double the time of normal PSLV rocket
India began its space journey in 1975 with the launch
of Aryabhatta using a Russian rocket and till date, it has completed
over 100 space missions.
14. 22 pm: US Ambassador to witness Mars mission launch US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell is in India to witness the launch of the Mars mission from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
Soon after arrival, she left for the spaceport, about 100 km from here.
14.05 pm: ISRO chairman Radhakrishnan arrives at mission control center.
12.29 pm: NASA spacecraft MAVEN to enter Mars orbit the same day as India's orbiter in September 2014.
11.54 am:All vehicle systems switched on. The countdown for the launch started at 6:08 hours (IST).
11.40 am: Second Stage (PS2) Propellant filling operations completed.
space ambition made a giant leap at 2.38pm on Tuesday - mangalvaar, the
day of planet Mars. The country's first mission to the red planet
lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra
Pradesh with the Mars Orbiter on board, along with other scientific
If all goes according to plan, this will also push India into a very
small club of nations with interplanetary travel capabilities. The
nine-month long journey, after the Orbiter goes around Earth for 22-25
days, is scheduled to enter Mars' orbit on September 24, 2014.
Mars Orbiter will observe the physical features of Mars and conduct
limited study of the Martian atmosphere as finalised by the Advisory
Committee on Space Sciences. The pay loads include Lyman Lpha Photometer
to measure the relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen from
Lyman-alpha emission; Methane Sensor for Mars to measure methane in the
Martian atmosphere, and thus determine past existence of life; Mars
Colour Camera to capture images and information about the surface of
Mars and its composition; Mars Exopheric Neutral Composition Analyser,
which is a spectrometer; and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer to
map surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.
officials at the SDSC were busy conducting mandatory checks and
preparations for propellant filling operations of Second Stage (PS2).
Sunday, we completed a host of operations, such as, propellant filling
of PS4 stage and RCT; filling of Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen (MON); filling
of Mono Methyl Hydrazine (MMH) and Reaction Control Thrusters (RCT).
The Mars Orbiter Mission is on schedule," a senior official from SDSC
Mars Orbiter Mission is India's first interplanetary mission to planet
Mars with an orbiter craft designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical
orbit. The project, built over a remarkably short period of two years,
is primarily a technological mission considering the critical operations
and stringent requirements on propulsion and other systems of the
Just 21 out of the 51 missions launched to Mars by
different countries have been successful and that too by only three
space agencies - NASA, European Space Agency and the Russian Federal
Space Agency (better known as Roscosmos). ISRO's success will put India
into a league China tried, and failed, to enter last year. Japan's Mars
mission had failed too in 2003.
success of the Mars Orbiter Mission, therefore, will also make India
the only Asian nation to have achieved the feat. But Isro is quick to
dismiss any talk of the mission being about an Asian space race. "One of
the main objectives of the first Indian mission to Mars is to develop
the technologies required for design, planning, management and
operations of an interplanetary mission.
objective include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a
capability to survive and perform Earthbound manoeuvres, cruise phase of
300 days, Mars orbit insertion /capture, and on-orbit phase around
Mars; ensure deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and
management," a spokesperson for the mission pointed out.
Mega bill sparks huge debate
Can a country with millions of poor afford to spend Rs.450
crore on a Mars exploration mission? India's ambitious Mars Orbiter
Mission has sparked a heated debate on the utility of the project, with
even Isros own former chairman G. Madhavan Nair terming it a
"Not only Nair, even (development economist) Jean Dreeze made the same argument. Do we need an MOM at the cost of Rs.450
crore when we have children dying of malnutrition and rural sanitation
remains a distant dream? Space quest is understandable for advanced
economies. May be our priorities are wrong," said development economist
Dr G. Neginhal. Isro officials, though, beg to differ.
"ISRO is pursuing specific objectives, as the government provides aims and goals to different departments.
It is wrong to compare two different issues," a spokesperson said.