Mars mission launch trial today

Mars mission launch trial today

The stage is all set for the launch of India's prestigious Rs 430-crore Mars Orbiter Mission, with Indian Satellite Research Organisation (Isro) officials giving it a final touch on Thursday by carrying out a launch rehearsal at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.

The eight-and-a-half-hour simulation, to be carried out at the first launch pad, where the PSLV C-25 is erected, includes satellite battery check-up, withdrawal of mobile service tower and testing of electrical activities.

“Except for pressing the 'ignite' button, all other procedures would be checked to see whether all preparations are in place,” said Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan.

He said the rehearsal would be carried out till the 56.5-hour countdown starts. “In addition, the Launch Authorisation Board will assess everything, including weather conditions, before the countdown, which is expected to start at 6:08 am on November 3,” said the official.

Radhakrishnan said lift-off is expected on November 5 at 2:36 pm.

One of the main objectives of the first Indian mission to Mars is to develop the technology required to design, plan, manage and operate an interplanetary mission, he said.

PSLV C-25 mission director P Kunhikrishnan told Deccan Herald that the Mars Orbiter has been designed with the capability to survive and perform earthbound manoeuvres, and a cruise phase of 300 days' travel. “Other objectives include studying deep-space communication, navigation, mission planning and management,” he added.

According to him, the Mars Orbiter has been configured to carry out observation of physical features of Mars and study the Martian atmosphere, with five payloads finalised by the Advisor Committee on Space Sciences.

The five payloads include the Lyman Lpha Photometer, to measure the relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen, the Methane Sensor for Mars, to measure methane in the Martian atmosphere, the Mars Colour Camera, to capture images of the surface, the Mars Exopheric Neutral Composition Analyser, a spectrometer, and the Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer.

PSLV C-25 vehicle director B Jayakumar said soon after the countdown, liquid propellant would be filled into the first stage. He added that this PSLV mission in XL configuration will carry the Mars Orbiter satellite, weighing 1,337 kg, into an elliptical orbit.

“Another unique task associated with management of this mission is the generation and configuration control of multiple initialisations for the on-board computers corresponding to the different launch dates,” he said.

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