ISRO chief highly optimistic of its challenging Mars mission - The New Indian Express

ISRO chief highly optimistic of its challenging Mars mission

Published: 24th October 2013 10:11 AM

Last Updated: 24th October 2013 10:17 AM

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is highly optimistic of the success of the country’s maiden inter-planetary probe to Mars from Sriharikota on November 5. The mission will begin its odyssey at 2.36 pm, with a window of only five minutes.

Each of the phases has its own challenges and problems as it is an inter-planetary mission with a long navigational path of 300 days from earth to the Martian orbit.

Speaking to Express, ISRO Chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan said: “This is a very complicated mission, but we have the capability to do it. We have developed new knowledge and we are very confident that we can achieve the navigation from earth to Mars accurately and properly. Although the influence of sun (varying solar pressure) and other planets have to be taken into account to make the mission a success, if we have done it for communication satellites, Chandrayaan and others, we can do it for this too. The previous experiences of launching four different missions with the same PSLV vehicle stands good as we have a good understanding of this rocket.”

Dr Radhakrishnan added that the levels of autonomy built in the spacecraft was such that it does not take any wrong decisions.

“The required level of autonomy onboard the spacecraft has been provided as the distance from the ground stations is 400 million km. For the first time, ground operations have been built into the satellite so that it can identify whether systems are functioning well. If not, it can switch over to standby systems. A second level of autonomy too has been provided, which is a chain of commands, stored in the computer and initiated in times of serious problems. The ground control finds a solution that puts the Mars Orbiter in a ‘safe mode’ facing the earth where it can receive the commands and open the solar panels,” he detailed.

This is the first time that Nalanda and Yamuna -- the ships of the Shipping Corporation of India -- have been requisitioned for tracking the ignition of the fourth stage of PSLV and a good amount of its powered phase, as there are no tracking stations in this region. Because of bad weather, there was a delay in the ships reaching their destination.

They have reached Fiji Islands now and will move 1,000 nautical miles eastwards on October 27.

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