SRIHARIKOTA: A day after the last of Diwali rockets was fired in this part of the country, ‘the big one’ blasted off from the first launch pad inSriharikota on Tuesday afternoon, firing the ambition of a nation, and the imagination of many others.
About 90 minutes after a drizzle raised minor concerns about weather among lay people, the 44.4m PSLV-C25 carrying in its head India’s first Mars orbiter, lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Drowning the cheers at the mission control, about 7km away, and the nearby media centre, the rocket rose to the sky with a roar, spewing fire and smoke. Soon it disappeared into the clouds.
While the onlookers strained to see through the overcast sky, about 58 top scientists of the Isro remained glued to their computers in the mission control that displayed the performance of the rocket as it shed its first and second stages one by one.
The nail-biting – albeit expected – phase came soon after the third stage of the rocket was burned out, and the blip on the tracking screens disappeared as Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan had explained earlier, the rocket would be on a coasting phase for almost 28 minutes, 10 minutes of which will be a “total blind phase.”
What follows in the next 10 days would be six crucial “orbit raising operations,” in the wee hours of November 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 16.
And then, at 12.42am on December 1, the orbiter will leave the earth’s orbit for a 300-day journeyto the red planet. “We expect the orbiter to be in Mars’ orbit on September 24, 2014,” said the Isro chairman.
The Mars mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) is aimed at establishing the country’s capability to reach the red planet and focus on looking for the presence of methane, an indicator of life in Mars.
The Mars Orbiter has five scientific instruments – Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
European Space Agency ( ESA) of the European consortium, National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA) of the US and Roscosmos of Russia are the three agencies which have successfully sent their missions to the Red Planet. PTI DSJ SA APR GSN GSN 11051518 NNNN
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan and congratulated his team on successful launch of Mars mission.