India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft successfully entered into an orbit around the planet Mars this morning (Sept. 24, 2014) by firing its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) along with eight smaller liquid engines.
The liquid engines firing operation, which began at 07:17:32 Hrs IST, lasted for 1388.67 seconds and changed the velocity of the spacecraft by 1099 metres/sec. With this operation, the spacecraft entered into an elliptical orbit around Mars.
According to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the Mars orbit insertion progressed satisfactorily and the spacecraft performance was normal. The spacecraft is now circling Mars in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is at 421.7 km and farthest point (apoapsis) at 76,993.6 km. The inclination of orbit with respect to the equatorial plane of Mars is 150 degree, as intended. In this orbit, the spacecraft takes 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds to go round the Mars once.
Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was launched on-board India's workhorse launch vehicle PSLV on Nov. 5, 2013 into a parking orbit around Earth. On Dec. 1, 2013, following the Trans Mars Injection (TMI) manoeuvre, the spacecraft escaped from Earth orbit and followed a path that would allow it to encounter Mars on Sept. 24, 2014.
With today's successful Mars Orbit Insertion operation, ISRO has become the fourth space agency to successfully send a spacecraft to Mars orbit. In the coming weeks, the spacecraft will be thoroughly tested in Mars orbit and the systematic observation of the planet using the spacecraft's five scientific instruments is expected to begin.
Editor's Note: More information about ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission can be found at http://www.isro.org/mars/home.aspx
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