An Indian rocket carrying the country's first Mars orbiter blasted off Tuesday from the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here in Andhra Pradesh.
Live coverage from SpaceflightNow, the leading source for space news.
The most ambitious mission till date of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lifted off successfully.Thousands of people on the social networking site Facebook got live updates on the preparations as ISRO decided to publicise the launch in order to garner support for the rendezvous with Mars.
Regular Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) Launchpad updates were posted on Facebook and a post at T-20 hours from launch, which announced the commencing of fuel injection into Stage-2 of the launch vehicle, received 175 ‘likes’ within minutes.
ISRO has pulled out all the stops in order to get the online generation involved in the mission. Gone are the days of hearing about the launch a day later or through the news. With regular updates, ISRO has ensured that the information comes straight from the source.
The mission is slated for launch at 2.38 pm on Tuesday and till date, over 30,000 followers are scanning the Facebook page for regular updates. India’s first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter, will be put into space by the trusted Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (the XL version with extra strap-on thrusters) and will inject the satellite well beyond the Earth’s sphere of influence, after four-engine burn-out phases.
Photo gallery: ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission
The PSLV C25, along with the Orbiter, is assembled onsite at Launch Pad-1 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) and the latest updates from ISRO indicated that wind and weather conditions were optimal for launch. The 15-storey-tall mobile terminal that housed the vehicle was moved away at 6.30 pm on Monday in preparation for the launch. This indicated that all on-site checks were carried out satisfactorily.
Important Links about ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission
Mission Objectives : http://www.isro.org/pslv-c25/mission-objective.aspx
Payloads : http://www.isro.org/pslv-c25/pdf/mom-payloads.pdf
Trajectory : http://www.isro.org/pslv-c25/pdf/mom-trajectory.pdf
Disassembled View : http://www.isro.org/pslv-c25/pdf/exploded-mom.pdf
Brochures : http://www.isro.org/pslv-c25/brochure.aspx
Image Gallery : http://www.isro.org/pslv-c25/Imagegallery/launchvehicle.aspx
Video Gallery : http://www.isro.org/video-mars.aspx
As ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan admitted, surviving the 300-day journey to reach Mars would be an achievement itself, after which the Orbiter is expected to search the Red Planet’s surface for methane and signs of habitation.
If the mission turns out to be a success, ISRO will be the fourth space agency in the world to have sent a mission to Mars.
Learn more about Mars: Mars demystified
The live telecast of the launch will be broadcast on Doordarshan from 2 pm. A webcast will also be available at the same time through http://isro.org/
The Path and the Payloads
The Mars orbiter will carry five payloads which will help it study the atmosphere and the surface of the red planet
1. Lyman Alpha Photometer. Will measure the loss of water from Mars in the exosphere and upper atmosphere
2. Methane Sensor for Mars. Designed to measure the presence of methane with accuracy up to parts per billion (PPB) and map sources. The presence of methane can be an indicator of life
3. Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS). TIS will measure thermal emissions to map the surface composition and mineralogy. Will work with methane sensor to determine presence of life and its nature.
Also read:Preparatory work in full swing for Mars Orbiter Mission
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