Posts Tagged ‘Mars Orbiter Mission’

100 days to Mars for ISRO’s Mangalyaan

June 16, 2014

Four days ago

  • The second Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM-2) of India’s Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was successfully performed on June 11, 2014 at 1630 hrs IST. TCM-2 was performed by firing the spacecraft’s 22 Newton thrusters for a duration of 16 seconds.
  • At present, the radio distance between the Spacecraft and the Earth is 102 million km. A radio signal from the Earth to the Spacecraft now takes about 340 seconds. The spacecraft so far has traveled a distance of 466 million km as part of its total Journey of 680 million km.
  • ISRO is continuously monitoring Mars Orbiter Spacecraft using Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN). The spacecraft and its five scientific instruments are in good health.

And 100 days from today on 24th September, ISRO’s frugally engineered  Mars Orbiter Mission (called Mangalyaan meaning Mars craft) should be inserted into Mars orbit. The highly over-rated movie “Gravity” had a larger budget at $100 million than ISRO’s $75 million for its Mars mission.

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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.

Smooth MAVEN launch followed by flawless insertion into Mars trajectory

November 18, 2013

A very smooth launch by NASA and lift-off exactly as planned.

And with the power of the Atlas V, just 52 minutes 42 seconds after launch MAVEN had separated from the launch vehicle and had been inserted into a Hohmann Transfer Orbit and on trajectory to reach Mars on 22nd September 2014.

NASA:

At 1:28 p.m. EST, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft began its 10-month journey to Mars orbit, launching aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. MAVEN will take critical measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet’s history.

The Centaur’s single RL-10A-4-2 engine ended its second burn on time. The next major milestone is the release of NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft.

Separation! Maven is now on its own.

Very smooth and absolutely flawless.

In the meantime the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission’s Mangalyaan has another 13 days in Earth orbit in its current orbit (193,000 km apogee) before one more burn of its motors puts it also into a Hohmann Transfer Orbit which should get it to Mars orbit on 24th September 2014. Spacecraft systems – most being operated for the first (or second) time – will be tested while in earth orbit.

The “poor man’s route” to Mars!

And India and ISRO have some 49 years of US NASA Mars missions to catch up to.

And while NASA is showing live feed of the launch, ISRO’s web-site is down – presumably because it could not handle the traffic. The FB page seems fine.

isro down 20131118

isro down 20131118

Final Mars Orbiter orbit increase successfully completed 15th November 2110 CET

November 15, 2013

ISRO has announced via Facebook that the next burn to raise the earth orbit (apogee) to close to 200,000 km will be carried out at 0127 IST (2057 CET 15th November). If this goes as planned the next manoeuver is expected to be to inject the probe into a Trans-Mars trajectory on 1st December.

2130 CET: Just reported to have been successfully completed The observed change in Apogee is from 118642 km to 192874 km”.

Updates here as they become available.

UPDATES:  

  • 2045 CET Forward rotation to prepare for burn completed. 
  • 2058 CET: 440N Liquid Engine started firing to raise the apogee to about 192,000 km in this 5th Manoeuver
  • Craft at perigee. Awaiting post burn report.
  • 2110 Burn reported completed
  • It may be a while before tracking data can confirm the new orbit
  • The fifth orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 01:27:00 hrs (IST) on Nov 16, 2013, with a burn Time of 243.5 seconds has been successfully completed.The observed change in Apogee is from 118642km to 192874km.

===================================

Tonight is going to be the culmination of the various baby steps MOM has been taking by gradually soaring to higher apogees around Mother Earth. This manoeuver, scheduled at 01:27 hrs IST, will take the spacecraft to – almost half the way to moon – about two lakh (200,000) kilometers.

The distance to the moon is 384,400 km (and I make 200,000 to be a little more than half-way)!

mangalyaan final earth orbit increase - isro

mangalyaan final earth orbit increase – isro

At this distance Deep Space Tracking will become necessary.

The Indian Deep Space Network consists of a 18-m and a 32-m antennae that are established at the IDSN campus, Byalalu, Bangalore. The Network is augmented with a couple of stations in the western hemisphere in addition to the 64-m antenna in Bearslake, Russia to improve the visibility duration and to provide support from the antipodal point. …..

External network stations APL, JPL (Goldstone, Canberra, Madrid), Hawaii, Brazil (Alcantara, Cuiaba) are requisitioned in for the purpose of extended visibility of Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations, as well as to gain the near continuous visibility during the normal phase operations. All the external stations will ensure the required compatibility to communicate with the spacecraft.

The network as used for Chandrayaan and expected to be used for Mangalyaan is shown below.

Indian Deep Space Network used for Chandrayaan - isro

Indian Deep Space Network used for Chandrayaan – isro

India Mars Orbiter Mission Update – 14th November and ISRO is silent

November 14, 2013

In spite of a great deal of ballyhoo about ISRO’s heightened and improved publicity, their website is remarkably short of information or updates. There has been nothing new since they reported that the earth orbit correction had succeeded and that was 48 hours ago. They have not even put out a revised mission plan. No doubt they have to be a typical Indian Government bureaucratic organisation but they have much to learn about public relations. They are still stuck in the paradigm of “No news is good news” and haven’t quite realised that “No news, when news is expected, is bad news”.

I would have thought that they could at least have put out a daily bulletin. The long silence from ISRO suggests that something may be amiss. (The FB page contains virtually no forward looking information – except the pre-mission plans and photographs). 

Indian science journalists apparently just wait for official press releases and have no updates and little background to offer. Their lack of pro-active coverage and apparent lack of interest leaves much to be desired.

The next scheduled burn is supposed to be on 18th November (according to the original mission plan) to raise the orbit (apogee) to about 200,000km. That would then be sufficient for the injection into a Trans-Mars trajectory with the scheduled sixth burn (actually seventh including the corrective burn 2 days ago). But the mission plan must have been revised. Yet ISRO has not released any information. I can understand their fear of putting out a plan and not being able to keep to it but they will one day realise that being up-front with the plan and its critical parts for an R & D program is by far the best way of keeping on top of communications. And in keeping messages on track.

In the meantime the ToI reports that:

After having successfully tackled a momentary glitch in Mangalyaan’s orbital manoeuvres on Monday, Isro scientists have postponed a crucial exercise. The exercise is to test the five instruments aboard the Mangalyaan before the orbiter embarks on its long journey to Mars in early December. The instruments were to be activated on Monday this week for a brief while to ensure that they work fine. But this procedure will now be carried out next week.

I have been trying to follow the mission via the live satellite tracking websites (satview.org and n2yo.com) but I am a little dubious as to how “live” they actually are. I noted that after the corrective burn 48 hours ago, both sites took almost 24 hours before they showed any change to the orbit.

Right now satview is showing a position over Africa at an altitude over 100,000 km but this data needs to be taken with a pinch or two of salt.

Live track Mars Orbiter satview.org

Live track Mars Orbiter satview.org

n2yo.com also shows the same position and gives the following data. Note that both sites give the same location and now also give much the same altitude. They do not match on “speed”. Satview gives a speed of about 4149km/h which is about 1.15km/s whereas n2yo gives a “speed” of 6.9 km/s. I am not quite sure what “speed” is being reported.

MARS ORBITER MISSION

LOCAL TIME:
12:13:56
UTC:
11:13:56
LATITUDE:
19.09
LONGITUDE:
-0.1
ALTITUDE [km]:
103132.47
ALTITUDE [mi]:
64083.55
SPEED [km/s]:
6.91
SPEED [mi/s]:
4.29
AZIMUTH:
204
SSW
ELEVATION:
+48.9
RA:
14h 45m 32s
DEC:
17° 1′ 12”
The satellite is in day light
PERIOD:  1434m

 

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.


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