Mars Mission back on track after glitch
By Express News Service | Published: 13th November 2013 01:24 PM |
The Mars Orbiter Mission is back on track on Tuesday, a day after a hiccup during the fourth orbit raising manoeuvre.
The 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), the main engine of the spacecraft, fired up successfully and raised the apogee (farthest point in orbit from Earth) to about 1.19 lakh km. With this manoeuvre, the Mars Mission has been brought back to the desired level.
The LAM engine was fired for 303.8 seconds at about 5:03 am, and added the targeted incremental velocity to the spacecraft.
ISRO scientists told Express a day earlier that it would prove to be a setback to the entire mission if the engine refused to start up. The worry, albeit not major, sparked when the solenoid valve, which controls the flow of liquid propellant to the engine, shut out when the Spacecraft Command Centre at Peenya was testing a back-up sequence.
The fourth orbit raising manoeuvre however was not entirely derailed by the shutting off of the solenoid valve, as the Mars Orbiter autonomously started the smaller 22 Newton Attitude Thrusters. As a result, the apogee was raised from 71,623 km to 78,276 km. The target has been to raise the apogee to 100,000 km.
ISRO then made minor adjustments to the mission and used the supplementary orbit raising manoeuvre to 118,642 km in the operation. The fifth orbit raising manoeuvre is scheduled to be performed in the wee hours of November 16, and ISRO will attempt to raise the apogee to 200,000 km. Then, on December 1, the craft will be powered out of Earth’s orbit on its way to Mars.