Posts Tagged ‘India’

Indian Election: All over? Runaway victory for Modi as B/C ratio soars to over 4.6

May 16, 2014

It is definitely all over now. Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister and he will not have to depend on any allies for his majority. Even the Shiv Sena will be superfluous. Mamata in W Bengal and Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu have had landslide wins but Modi will not need to be beholden to them. For the first time in 30 years a coalition will not be necessary. The Aam Admi party made a poor showing, reinforcing the view that they make a lot of noise but are scared of governing. Congress may get less than 50 seats (!!) and be reduced to little more than a rump.

1045: It is less than 3 hours since counting began and it is looking like a runaway victory for Modi and a melt-down for Congress. The B/C ratio is reaching stratospheric heights at 4.6 (318/69).

1030: B/C ratio soars to 4.05 (304/75). An absolute and a very comfortable majority for Narendra Modi is emerging. Post election haggling and sops to regional fanatics may not be needed. Varun Gandhi has won in Sultanpur. Rahul Gandhi is behind in Amethi. 

1015: B/C ratio now at 3.58 (301/ 84). Comfortable majority in sight for BJP. Profit taking apparent as Sensex comes off its euphoric highs. 

0945: B/C at 3.45 (287/83) while Sensex climbs 1400 points (5+%) today

0930: B/C ratio soars to 3.63. Leads Total: 436, BJP+ 243; Congress+ 67, Others 128. BSE Sensex up about 1000 points (4%)

0915: Leads: Total: 318, BJP+ 174; Congress+ 64, Others 80. B/ C = 2.72

0900 IST: Leads — Total: 296, BJP+ 165; Congress+ 61, Others +70. B/C = 2.7

The B/C ratio has been running at 2.5 – 2.7 through the first hour.

If the first hour of vote counting is representative of what is to come BJP will end up with around 2.5 – 2.7 times as many seats as Congress. So if Congress could end up with around 90 – 100 seats then BJP will get around 240 – 260. 

0800: Counting has begun. About 8,000 candidates, 1.8 million voting machines and about 550 million votes to be counted.

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Markets surge as Indian exit polls are awaited after close of polls today

May 12, 2014

UPDATE!

Narendra Modi - The next Indian Prime Minister (photo Forbes)

Narendra Modi – The next Indian Prime Minister (photo Forbes)

The real results have to wait till Friday but early exit poll results suggest that

  • the BJP led alliance (NDA) will get over 280 seats in the Lok Sabha (272 needed for majority) while the Congress led alliance (UPA) will get less than 120 seats. 
  • BJP will be the largest single party
  • the AAP may get 5 seats
  • Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister

The markets rose over 3% today.

Turnout was a record at just over 66% (of an electorate of over 800 million voters).

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The Indian markets are reacting to rumours and “inside information” as to what the exit polls will reveal when they are published later today. The Election Commission has confirmed that the results of exit polls – which have been carried out over the last 6 weeks of polling and are prepared and waiting to be released – can be released after the polls close at 1830 local time (1500 CET) on the last day of the last phase of voting today.

Exit polls don’t have a very good record in predicting the result of Indian elections – especially when they are extrapolated. But we have the peculiar situation of markets being driven by the expectations of what the exit polls will say and where the actual results will not be known till Friday. Capital inflow from overseas has been particularly high and there is a feeling that this cannot be just on the advice of local investors without any special knowledge. There is a suggestion – not at all implausible – that some large investors and their overseas partners may well have carried out their own, private, exit polls. And, the story goes, these show that Narendra Modi and the BJP will get close to an absolute majority.

On Friday the BSE Sensex rose over 3% and so far today has risen another 2+%  – over 1000 points in a day and a half of trading.

BSE Sensex 12th May noon

BSE Sensex 12th May noon (Reuters)

NDTV

It seems that investors are betting that the BJP-led NDA will emerge victorious on May 16, when results are announced, analysts say.

“There is a lot of political hope that has got baked in valuations. Markets are factoring numbers close to 230-240 seats for the BJP alone, and if that is the case, the NDA will get a majority on its own. That will lead to pro-growth, right of central, stable formation, which is enthusing for the investors,” said Manishi Raychaudhri, strategist and head of research at BNP Paribas Securities.

Polls have consistently shown the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi ahead, raising expectations that the opposition party, which is seen by markets as being more investor- and business-friendly, will either win or come close to an outright majority. The surprising part, however, is markets seem to be factoring in the best possible scenario (stable government led by Mr Modi) even before exit poll results, due later in the day. 

 One possibility why markets have not waited for exit poll results might have to do with speculation that big investors have already got a whiff of what results would be. In fact, overseas investors bought shares worth Rs. 1,268.78 crore in the cash market on Friday, their biggest purchase since March 28. Friday’s gains came at a time when markets had shed 2 per cent after hitting a record high of April 25. Clearly, smart money had some information. 

Deven Choksey, managing director of brokerage KR Choksey told NDTV that somewhere from the media, numbers suggesting that the BJP will get 260-270 seats, came out. It was in circulation on social media and markets took advantage of that, he said.

 

Election Commission is the unsung hero of Indian democracy

March 5, 2014

The Indian Election Commission (EC) is one of the institutions which has maintained its autonomy, integrity and independence even though various political parties have from time to time tried to politicise it. It has been the unsung hero of establishing a solid tradition of the Indian style of  “democracy” and of orderly transitions between governments. There was a period during the 1980’s when the respect commanded by the EC among politicians and political parties diminished and election violence increased. But the advent of TN Seshan in 1991 as the Election Commissioner and his tough actions brought the political parties back into line and restored much of the EC’s position.

As the Chief Election Commissioner of Election Commission of India he introduced major electoral reforms and redefined the status and visibility of the Election Commission of India. He was largely successful in curbing electoral malpractices in India and his name became synonymous with transparency and efficiency.

Seshan was not popular with politicians but received enthusiastic support from the public. Governments tried to dilute the Chief Election Commissioner’s powers by appointing additional Commissioners but in 1993 the Supreme Court confirmed the CEC’s supremacy and reaffirmed his constitutional position. Constitutional amendments to alter his position require a two-thirds majority in Parliament. The Congress Party when in government made some half-hearted attempts to introduce constitutional amendments to curb his powers but gave up these attempts because of public opposition and lack of support in parliament.

The EC has just announced the dates of polling and counting for the next general election. The Election Commission on Wednesday announced the schedule for Lok Sabha polls 2014. Polling will be held in nine phases, starting on April 7th and the counting of votes will be held on May 16th. These general elections will see 814 million voters eligible to vote, about 100 million more than at the last general election. The term of the current Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) expires on June 1st and the new House has to be constituted by May 31st. This will be a fascinating election with a number of new forces in play – but more of that later.

The EC – rather than governments or political parties – has become the de facto guardian of free and fair elections in India and must be credited with much of the “success” of the establishment of a sort of “democracy” in India. The robustness of this “democracy” can be judged by the strength of the institution of the Election Commission and the independence of the Chief Election Commissioner.

The Devyani Khobragade case: Ambitious prosecutor seeks publicity while India objects to an attack on privilege

December 19, 2013

The Devyani Khobragade case is causing waves in India -US diplomatic relations but I have difficulty to generate much sympathy for any of the parties involved.

The diplomat: Devyani Khobragade is a consular official and not a full-diplomat and she was trying to get her maid very cheaply. She was certainly subject to treatment which was  humiliating and undignified but the affront is primarily to her pride and the culture of privilege which prevails in India (and not only India of course).

The maid: Sangeeta Richard and her husband (and their advisors) are opportunists who are trying to circumvent visa restrictions and are trying to achieve a more permanent status to stay in the US. (There is little chance that she will retain her job with Khobragade). But the maid’s behaviour is rather suspect. “Why did the US grant visas to her husband and children and fly them out to the US two days before Devyani Khobragade was arrested in full public glare and strip searched? And Sangeeta’s father-in-law is apparently on the staff of the US embassy in New Delhi. A little blackmail and massive publicity  is seen as being a “good” thing in achieving their objective. In fact the fuss being made by the Indian establishment suggests that their lawyer could even make a claim for political asylum!

The prosecutor: US attorney Preet Bharara has been remarkably voluble in justifying his actions. That itself illustrates his clear political ambitions. No US prosecutor acts without an eye to the resultant publicity and his career development and – in many cases – his political ambitions. It is inconceivable that the particular prosecutor in this case (also of Indian origin) did not calculate the boost he would get.

The Indian political establishment: The entire Indian establishment (politicians and press) have had their nationalistic hackles aroused. Their culture of privilege is being attacked. The diplomat was subjected to a “cavity search”. Good grief! This is rape! Clearly a case of official rape by rampant US officialdom on a defenceless Indian woman!! To be seen to be fighting for a “raped woman” is very politically correct these days in India. Fighting for an underpaid maid – who is not from the privileged classes – does not win the same number of brownie points. (Note that a crime against a privileged person is always much much worse than the same crime against one of the lower classes).

The US political establishment: The US is probably a little bemused at how this has got out of hand. Kerry has expressed his regret  and “empathizes with the sensitivities we are hearing from India” but has not apologised. He cannot chastise an over-ambitious prosecutor who has used due process to further his political ambitions. Bharara could have behaved in a civilised manner but chose not to. He himself – of course – belongs to the privileged class of the US.

It has all the elements of a conspiracy and en entrapment (Sangeeta Richards, her father-in-law, unnamed US officials at the US Embassy in Delhi and the New York prosecutor Preet Bharara). For a lawyer specialising in corruption, Bharara’s behaviour is close to being morally corrupt in itself. No doubt Devyani Khobragade tried to get her maid cheap but some “entrapment” and publicity-seeking is apparent.

Interesting behaviour but all rather inconsequential.

 

Moment of truth approaches for India’s Mars Orbiter Mission

November 28, 2013

When everything is for the first time,achievements are incremental and there are very many critical “moments of truth” to meet and overcome. But now comes a very large “moment of truth” as ISRO prepares to inject the Mars Orbiter spacecraft into its Trans Mars Trajectory.

India’s Mars Orbiter (Mangalyaan) is currently in its final orbit around the earth and is scheduled to fire its 440 Newton liquid engine at 0049 hours IST on Sunday morning ( 1919 GMT Saturday 30th November).  It entered its final Earth orbit yesterday which has an orbital period of 5575 minutes (just under 4 days) and it should be approaching apogee later tonight (early hours of Friday morning) and the next engine burn will take place at perigee. Currently apogee is about 193,000 km from earth and perigee is around 350km.

The spacecraft must first be manoeuvred into the right attitude using its thrusters for the firing of its main engine which must then be fired to impart the correct change of velocity (delta-vee). Both, an incorrect attitude and/or an incorrect delta-vee are potential sources of error. Three mid-course corrections are planned  (the first on December 11th) but the margin of error allowable is still extremely small. Too low a velocity change could leave the craft in earth orbit or put it into a heliocentric orbit which does not get close enough to Mars. Too high a delta-vee would also put the craft into a heliocentric orbit which would eventually decay into the sun. I believe there is no chance of achieving a velocity high enough to escape the sun. And even if the velocity change is correct but the direction is too far in error then just another orbital path around the sun would result.

NDTV:“The trans-Mars injection- we are planning to depart on December 1, 2013 early hours of 00:49 hours IST and we are going to burn a liquid engine for duration of roughly 23 minutes which will impart an incremental velocity of 648 metres per second consuming a fuel of 198 kgs,” ISRO Scientific Secretary V Koteswara Rao told reporters in Bangalore.

K. Radhakrishnan, ISRO Chairman. (For the) trans-Mars injection and its insertion into the Martian orbit, the firing of the liquid engine is done in a closed loop mode. Here, a precision accelerometer is used to estimate the incremental velocity added as the liquid engine burns and when the accelerometer gives a feedback that the required incremental velocity added to the spacecraft has been achieved, the burning of the liquid engine is automatically terminated. So, minor variations in the performance of the liquid engine will not matter because we are cutting off its burning based on the delta-v that is achieved. That is why we call it closed loop of firing. … The spacecraft’s propulsion system, i.e., the 440 Newton liquid engine, will complete its first phase of operations on December 1. It has to be re-started for its operation on September 24 (2014).

MOM Trans Mars Injection ISRO

MOM Trans Mars Injection ISRO

ISRO: This voyage is achieved by a combination of navigation and propulsion technologies, governed by the gravity of Sun and Mars, and assisted by the 440 N Liquid engine. Further fine tuning of the trajectory is achieved using the Attitude and Orbit Control Thrusters during the Trajectory Correction maneuvers planned en route.

… on December 11, we plan to have one small firing for mid-course correction of the spacecraft. There may be one more mid-course correction during the helio-centric phase, and subsequently, a fortnight before the spacecraft’s arrival near Mars, there will be one more mid-course correction. So there will be three mid-course corrections between December 1, 2013 and September 24, 2014. 

Mangalyaan is eventually to be placed into a Martian orbit, with a periapsis height of 365 km, apoapsis height of 80,000 km and an orbital period of about 77 hours.

So on Saturday I shall have as many of my fingers crossed as I can manage. I suspect there will be many others doing the same across India.

Political statues in India cost more than the Mars Orbiter Mission

November 24, 2013

A very critical moment for the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) comes a week from today when the spacecraft’s engine has to be fired as it reaches perigee in its Earth orbit, to insert  it into  a trajectory to reach Mars some 10 months later.

The Mission has been criticised both in the West and in India (here and here for example) as being too expensive, too elitist and the wrong priority for a developing country like India. I think such criticism misses the point. The Indian Mars Orbiter Mission is primarily a test of technology and capability and self-confidence and self-belief”. The cost pales in comparison with the spend on religious festivities and what other much less productive projects can cost. As an example of what frugal engineering can achieve, the inspiration and ingenuity it can foster is immeasurable.

Manoj KumarPatairiya writes in the New York Times:

If the Mars Orbiter successfully reaches the vicinity of the planet in September 2014, after 300 days’ journey into deep space, it will make India the first Asian country and the fourth in the world to reach the red planet. …. The mission has, however, started an intense debate. While its supporters trumpet its incredibly low cost of around $75 million (a fraction of the cost of a similar American expedition), critics question the logic behind spending any amount when India is dealing with such deep-rooted problems as widespread hunger, poverty and corruption. ……. 

But U. R. Rao, a former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, compared the $75 million spent on the mission to the amount Indians spend on Diwali crackers for one day: “For going all the way to Mars, just one-tenth of the money is being spent. So, why are they shouting?”

Part of the reason the mission is so much less expensive is that it is able to take advantage of existing deep space communications systems and navigation support from NASA. But India is becoming known for its low-cost innovations in many diverse fields, including health care, renewable energy, sanitation, mobile technology and tablet computers. Indian scientists like to share this anecdote: “Americans spent millions to develop a pen that will not leak in space, whereas Russians used a pencil!”

The cost of the Indian Mars mission is about $75 million and just to put it into perspective:

  • Mayawati’s park in Noida was constructed at the cost of $130 million, and has 24 huge statues of elephants, and one of herself.
  • the total cost to build the Narendra Modi sponsored “Statue of Unity” is estimated to be about $340 million

Politicians will of course argue that the “feel-good” effects generated by such monuments to themselves or their heroes are well worth the cost!

If the MOM succeeds in its main objectives, there is even a case for using the window that is coming in 2018 to attempt a manned trip around Mars and back in 501 days.

China relaxes highly successful one-child policy

November 15, 2013

It was no doubt authoritarian and draconian and there may well be many unforeseen emotional and psychological side-effects to come for many generations, but the bottom line is that the Chinese one-child policy has done the trick insofar as population numbers is concerned. The Chinese population will reach its peak of just under 1.4 billion around 2020 and will then decline dropping to less than 1 billion by 2100. Around 2020, India’s population will exceed the Chinese population and will continue to increase until about 2060 reaching a peak of about 1.7 billion. Then by 2100 the India population will have declined to about 1.5 billion.

ReutersChina unwrapped its boldest set of economic and social reforms in nearly three decades on Friday, relaxing its one-child policy and further freeing up markets in order to put the world’s second-largest economy on a more stable footing.

The sweeping changes helped dispel doubts about the leadership’s zest for the reforms needed to give the economy fresh momentum as three decades of breakneck expansion shows signs of faltering.

The chart below is based on an analysis of the World Population Prospects 2010 and not on the latest 2012 projections. However the numbers and trends are largely the same.

WPP2010 Population projections till 2100

WPP2010 Population projections till 2100

Even if fertility rates now increase much more than predicted, the Chinese government now has a tried and tested – if disliked – population control method to fall back on. An increased fertility rate is now absolutely necessary to avoid a major aging challenge after about 2050 when the ratio of the working population to the supported population could reach crisis levels.

UPDATE! Indian Mars orbiter supplementary firing successful

November 12, 2013

The supplementary burn made this morning to correct for the incompleteness of the 4th burn yesterday appears to have been successful. The objective was to reach an orbit (apogee) of 100,000 km and this seems to have been achieved with some margin to spare. The observed change is to an orbit with an apogee of 118,462 km. The next step on 18th November is to raise the apogee to just under 200,000 km and then insert the craft into the Trans-Mars trajectory on 1st December.

So far, so good and the success of the correction by the supplementary burn is both impressive and encouraging.

ISRO: 

  • Fourth supplementary orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 05:03:50 hrs(IST) on Nov 12, 2013, with a burn Time of 303.8 seconds has been successfully completed.The observed change in Apogee is from 78276km to 118642km.

The launch and subsequent orbit manoeuvre burns so far are summarised here:

  1. The Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, India’s first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched into an elliptical earth orbit with a perigee of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km, inclined at an angle of 19.27 deg to the equator by India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its twenty fifth flight (PSLV-C25). The achieved orbit was very close to the intended one. The launch was conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota on November 05, 2013. The launch of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft occurred as scheduled from the First Launch Pad at 2:38 pm IST after a fifty six and a half hour count down. 
  2. The first orbit-raising manoeuvre of India’s Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was performed at 01:17 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) early this morning (November 07, 2013) when the 440 Newton Liquid Engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds by commanding it from Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bangalore. With this engine firing, the spacecraft’s apogee (farthest point to Earth) has been raised to 28,825 km, while its perigee (nearest point to Earth) is at 252 km. 
  3. The second orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 02:18:51 hrs(IST) on Nov 08, 2013, with a burn time of 570.6 seconds has been successfully completed.The observed change in Apogee is from 28814 km to 40186 km.
  4. The third orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 02:10:43 hrs(IST) on Nov 09, 2013, with a burn time of 707 seconds has been successfully completed.The observed change in Apogee is from 40186km to 71636km.
  5. In the fourth orbit-raising operation conducted on Nov 11, 2013, the apogee (farthest point to Earth) of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was raised from 71,623 km to 78,276 km by imparting an incremental velocity of 35 metres/second (as against 130 metres/second originally planned to raise apogee to about 100,000 [1 lakh] km). The spacecraft is in normal health. A supplementary orbit-raising operation is planned for November 12, 2013, at 0500 hrs IST to raise the apogee to nearly 1 lakh km. 
mangalyaan trajectory

mangalyaan trajectory: image ISRO

Related posts: 

Indian Mars orbiter’s fourth burn in earth orbit only partially succesful

India’s frugal Mars orbiter mission completes 3rd burn in earth orbit

Frugal engineering for India’s Mars mission

Indian Mars orbiter’s fourth burn in earth orbit only partially succesful

November 11, 2013
The Indian Mars Orbiter Mission met its first setback last night when the planned 4th burn in earth orbit was achieved but did not or could not impart the extra velocity that was planned. The orbit rose from about 71,000 km (apogee) to 78,000 km instead of the planned 100,000 km. A supplementary burn is planned for the early hours of 12th November (burns are scheduled for when the spacecraft is near perigee and within clear and easy range of tracking stations).
The current position of the spacecraft is between India and Saudi Arabia

ISRO Press Release:

In the fourth orbit-raising operation conducted this morning (Nov 11, 2013), the apogee (farthest point to Earth) of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was raised from 71,623 km to 78,276 km by imparting an incremental velocity of 35 metres/second (as against 130 metres/second originally planned to raise apogee to about 100,000 [1 lakh] km). The spacecraft is in normal health. A supplementary orbit-raising operation is planned tomorrow (November 12, 2013) at 0500 hrs IST to raise the apogee to nearly 1 lakh km. 

During the orbit-raising operations conducted since November 7, 2013, ISRO has been testing and exercising the autonomy functions progressively, that are essential for Trans-Mars Injection (TMI) and Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI).  

During the first three orbit-raising operations, the prime and redundant chains of gyros, accelerometers, 22 Newton attitude control thrusters, attitude and orbit control electronics as well as the associated logics for their fault detection isolation, and reconfiguration have been exercised successfully. The prime and redundant star sensors have been functioning satisfactorily. The primary coil of the solenoid flow control valve was used successfully for the first three orbit-raising operations. 

During the fourth orbit-raising operations held today (November 11, 2013), the redundancies built-in for the propulsion system were exercised, namely, (a) energising the primary and redundant coils of the solenoid flow control valve of 440 Newton Liquid Engine and (b) logic for thrust augmentation by the attitude control thrusters, when needed. However, when both primary and redundant coils were energised together, as one of the planned modes, the flow to the Liquid Engine stopped. The thrust level augmentation logic, as expected, came in and the operation continued using the attitude control thrusters. This sequence resulted in reduction of the incremental velocity. 

While this parallel mode of operating the two coils is not possible for subsequent operations, they could be operated independently in sequence.

Mangalyaan current position 20131111 0830CET

Mangalyaan current position 20131111 0830CET

TOIThe first orbit-raising manoeuvre of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission was performed at 01:17 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) early on November 07, 2013) when the 440 Newton Liquid Engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds by commanding it from Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bangalore. With this engine firing, the spacecraft’s Apogee (the farthest point to Earth) was raised to 28,825km.

The second orbit raising manoeuvre of MOM was at 02:18:51 hrs(IST) on Nov 8, 2013.The change observed in Apogee was from 28,814km to 40,186km. 

The third orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft, starting at 02:10:43 hrs on Nov 09, 2013, was successful. The change observed in the Apogee was from 40,186 km to 71,636km.

India’s frugal Mars orbiter mission completes 3rd burn in earth orbit

November 9, 2013

There has been some criticism  (within and outside India) from the usual suspects about the frugally-engineered, Indian, Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter mission as “being too expensive” for a developing country like India. I tend to discount these voices which merely continue the long, retrograde and shameful tradition of the Luddites. Some of these voices are of those who would like humankind to return to the trees. Others are of those who feel threatened by the idea of “backward nations” moving into space.

Reaching Mars is not that easy. More missions have failed than have succeeded. The full list of Mars missions is here. There are many crucial steps left for the Mangalyaan mission to achieve and success is far from assured.

TOI: India’s Mars Rover Mission (MOM) named ‘Mangalyaan’ is the 42nd mission aimed at understanding Mars. Out of the 41 missions so far, 25 have been declared failures and only 16 have been a success. Even the latest Phobos-Grunt/Yinghuo-1 launched by Russia/China was a failure as it got stranded in the earth’s orbit. 

Close on the heels of ‘Mangalyaan’ being sent into space by India, the United States (US) is also gearing up for the MAVEN mission to be launched on November 18, 2013. The mission is intended to be a step towards ‘unravelling the planetary puzzle about Mars’. The US is also gearing up for the Mars Rover 2020 mission to understand ‘Martian atmosphere’.

Underlying all missions is the vision of Mars one day being inhabited by humans. And that vision transcends the petty and mean criticism of those who can only see a “glass half empty”.

Last night the 3rd of five rocket burns was completed to lift the earth orbit of Mangalyaan from 40,186 km to 71,636 km (apogee). The fourth and fifth burns are planned for November 11th and 16th to raise the apogee to 100,000 km and then to 192,000 km. The 6th burn will be to leave Earth’s orbit and  insert the spacecraft into a trajectory towards Mars. The Trans-Mars injection is expected around 12.42 AM on December 1st.

ISRO: The third orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 02:10:43 hrs(IST) on Nov 09, 2013, with a burn time of 707 seconds has been successfully completed. The observed change in Apogee is from 40186km to 71636km.

ISRO’s Mission Profile.

The Launch Vehicle – PSLV-C25 will inject the Spacecraft into an Elliptical Parking Orbit with a perigee of 250 km and an apogee of 23,500 km. With six Liquid Engine firing, the spacecraft is gradually maneuvered into a hyperbolic trajectory with which it escapes from the Earth’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) and arrives at the Mars Sphere of Influence. When spacecraft reaches nearest point of Mars (Peri-apsis), it is maneuvered in to an elliptical orbit around Mars by firing the Liquid Engine. The spacecraft then moves around the Mars in an orbit with Peri-apsis of 366 km and Apo-apsis of about 80000 km. 

The mission consists of following three phases:

1. Geo Centric Phase
The spacecraft is injected into an Elliptic Parking Orbit by the launcher. With six main engine burns, the spacecraft is gradually maneuvered into a departure hyperbolic trajectory with which it escapes from the Earth’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) with Earth’s orbital velocity + V boost. The SOI of earth ends at 918347 km from the surface of the earth beyond which the perturbing force on the orbiter is mainly due to the Sun. One primary concern is how to get the spacecraft to Mars, on the least amount of fuel. ISRO uses a method of travel called a Hohmann Transfer Orbit – or a Minimum Energy Transfer Orbit – to send a spacecraft from Earth to Mars with the least amount of fuel possible. 

2. Helio Centric Phase
The spacecraft leaves Earth in a direction tangential to Earth’s orbit and encounters Mars tangentially to its orbit. The flight path is roughly one half of an ellipse around sun. Eventually it will intersect the orbit of Mars at the exact moment when Mars is there too. This trajectory becomes possible with certain allowances when the relative position of Earth, Mars and Sun form an angle of approximately 44o. Such an arrangement recur periodically at intervals of about 780 days. Minimum energy opportunities for Earth-Mars occur in November 2013, January 2016, May 2018 etc. 

3. Martian Phase
The spacecraft arrives at the Mars Sphere of Influence (around 573473 km from the surface of Mars) in a hyperbolic trajectory. At the time the spacecraft reaches the closest approach to Mars (Periapsis), it is captured into planned orbit around mars by imparting ∆V retro which is called the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre. The Earth-Mars trajectory is shown in the above figure. ISRO plans to launch the Mars Orbiter Mission during the November 2013 window utilizing minimum energy transfer opportunity.


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