India's Mars mission takes shape

India's Mars mission takes shape

India’s maiden mars mission is taking shape with the integration of the spacecraft purse having commenced at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Satellite Centre here.

A senior official of Isro said: “The integration of the spacecraft purse, comprising the structure and several sub-systems, including power systems, controlling systems, telemetry and command systems, has begun at the Isro Satellite Centre. ”

This process is likely to take another four weeks, following which the integration of the payloads will commence. “We will move the satellite and the spacecraft to Sriharikota by September, from where it will be launched,” he said.

The satellite will be leaving the earth’s orbit in November this year and will cruise in sp­a­ce for about 10 months before finally entering the Red Planet.

The preliminary design reviews of the payloads are complete and the process to begin the integration has begun, the source said. The structure has been delivered to clean room and the propulsion system integration is in the final stage.

Termed the Mars Orbiter Mission, the spacecraft to be launched for the mission will be launched using the PSLV launch vehicle. The 1,350-kg spacecraft will carry five instruments/payloads totaling a mass of 15-kg selected by the Advisory Committee for Space Sciences, to study the Martian surface, atmosphere and mineralogy.

Among the important things that Isro hopes to achieve is check for methane as also map Mars’s surface besides send in data from the optical imaging payload. Still high on the significant findings made by Chandrayaan 1, it would be another achievement for Isro if methane is found on Mars, as it is an indication that life existed there.

Another official said the first of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System constellation, IRNSS-1A, was to be launched on Wednesday. It would be launched on July 1. Isro on June 1 said the launch had to be postponed due to an electrical glitch but had not decided on a date for the launch.

Sources said the next launch in the pipeline was the INSAT-3D, which would be launched on July 26. INSAT-3d is an exclusive meteorological satellite, and, is configured with advanced meteorological payloads - a 6 Channel Imager, 19 Channel Sounder along with Data Relay Transponder and Satellite Aided Search & Rescue payloads.

“The spacecraft platform is adopted from the standard I-2K bus with a power handling capability of around 1100 W with a lift off mass of 2090-kg,” the source said.

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