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India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft Successfully Enters into an Orbit Around Red Planet

First Posted: Sep 25, 2014 07:26 AM EDT
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India celebrates as its Mars Orbiter Spacecraft made a successful entry into an orbit around the the Red Planet on September 24, 2014.

Mars tops the list of being the most explored planet in the solar system with orbiting satellites, landing probes or robot rovers. India's first interplanetary mission to the planet - Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) - has an orbiter craft that is designed to revolve around the red planet in an elliptical orbit.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) confirmed that the Mars Obiter Spacecraft made a successfully orbit insertion on Sept. 24 morning by firing its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) along with eight other smaller liquid engines. The entry of MOM follows the successful entry of NASA's MAVEN that arrived on Mars at 7.24 P.M. EDT, September 21. This is the first ever spacecraft that will explore and study the tenuous upper Martian atmosphere.

ISRO officials said in a press statement that the Mars orbit insertion progressed satisfactorily and the performance of the spacecraft was normal. Currently, the spacecraft is circling the red planet in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is 421.7 km and the farthest point (apoapsis) is 76, 993 km.

"The inclination of the 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," according to news release.

Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was launched on board India's workhouse launch vehicle PSLV on Nov. 5, 2013. The spacecraft moved away from the Earth orbit after the Dec. 1, 2013 Trans Mars Injection maneuver and followed a path that led it to Mars on September 24, 2014.

After this jubilant entry, India's ISRO has now become the 4th to successfully send a spacecraft to the Mars orbit.

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