Mars spacecraft’s orbit to be raised early tomorrow

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Chennai, November 6:  A day after its successful launch, India’s Mars Orbiter spacecraft was functioning smoothly in the Earth’s orbit and ready for orbit raising operations on Thursday.

“Since its injection into Earth’s orbit yesterday, it has been functioning smoothly on the orbit. We are planning to perform orbit raising manoeuvres in the early hours of tomorrow,” an ISRO spokesman told PTI over phone.

Right now, the Mars Orbiter Mission is on its first round around the Earth, ISRO sources said.

“The spacecraft would go around the Earth five times before going out of the earth bound orbit into sun-centric orbit on December 1, 2013. It will then go around the sun embarking on its nine-month voyage to the red planet.”

ISRO’s PSLV C25 had successfully injected the 1,350-kg Orbiter into the orbit around Earth some 44 minutes after a text book launch at 2.38 p.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, marking the successful completion of the first stage of the Rs. 450-crore mission.

Since the launch, the control of the mission has been taken over by scientists at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore.

According to a satellite tracking system website, the MOM spacecraft had just crossed Nigeria and was flying over Chad, as on 1.09 p.m.

India’s MOM was at a perigee of (closest point from Earth) of 264.1 km and an apogee (farthest point from Earth) of 23,903.6 km with a degree of inclination of 19.3 degree.

However, according to the website, MOM would not fly over India, as its trajectory would cross the Indian Ocean, after leaving African continent from Somalia in the afternoon.

The International Designator or the NSSDC ID of India’s Mars mission is 2013-060A.

The International Designator is the international naming convention for satellites, comprising the launch year, a three digit incrementing launch number of that year and up to a three letter code representing the sequential identifier of a piece in a launch.

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