Monday, December 11, 2023

ISRO’s ‘Mangalyaan’ runs out of fuel after 8 long glorious years

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According to PTI, quoting ISRO sources, India’s Mars Orbiter vehicle has run out of propellant and its battery has been depleted past the safe limit, fueling suspicion that the country’s inaugural interplanetary mission ‘Mangalyaan’ may have finally concluded its lengthy career. The Mars orbiter vehicle operated for over eight years, far beyond its six-month mission life. More information will be provided in this report.

The Mangalyaan project was launched onboard PSLV-C25 on November 5, 2013 and successfully inserted into the Martian orbit on September 24, 2014 in its first attempt. The Mangalyaan Mission received praise for being the most affordable Mars mission to date wit only $74 million (₹450 crores) in expenses.

Sources told PTI that there is no fuel left in Mangalyaan. “Right now, there is no fuel left. The satellite battery has drained,” sources in the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) told PTI, adding that the link has been lost.

“Recently there were back-to-back eclipses including one that lasted seven-and-half hours. As the satellite battery is designed to handle an eclipse duration of only about one hour and 40 minutes, a longer eclipse would drain the battery beyond the safe limit,” PTI reported.

The MOM – a technology demonstration venture – carried five scientific payloads (total 15 kg) collecting data on surface geology, morphology, atmospheric processes, surface temperature and atmospheric escape process.

The five instruments are: Mars Color Camera (MCC), Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA) and Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP).

“MOM is credited with many laurels like cost-effectiveness, short period of realization, economical mass-budget, and miniaturization of five heterogenous scientific payloads,” ISRO officials pointed out.

Highly elliptical orbit geometry of MOM enabled MCC to take snapshots of ‘Full-Disc’ of Mars at its farthest point and finer details from closest point.

The MCC has produced more than 1000 images and published a Mars Atlas. Meanwhile, plans on follo-on ‘Mangalyaan’ mission to the red planet, however, are yet to be firmed up.

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