Trajectory corrected, Mars Orbiter now on precise path

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) received another shot in the arm in its ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission when its ground controllers successfully corrected the spacecraft’s trajectory. This complex trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM), as it is called, puts the spacecraft on the right celestial path to reach Mars on the scheduled day of September 24. The ground controllers at the ISRO Tracking, Telemetry and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bangalore, corrected the trajectory by radioing commands to the four thrusters of the Orbiter to fire for 16 seconds from 4.30 p.m. The thrusters did so, imparting an incremental velocity of 1.57 metres a second to the spacecraft for its rendezvous with Mars. ISRO Chairman Dr K. Radhakrishnan said the TCM was “precisely done” and “we operated four out of 22 Newton thrusters for 16 seconds” which gave the spacecraft an incremental velocity of 1.574 metres a second. “Reviews are under way. All systems on the Mars Orbiter are normal,” Dr. Radhakrishnan said. “Everything went perfectly well,” said Mr M. Annadurai, Programme Director, Indian Remote-sensing Satellites and Small Satellites Systems, ISRO. “We are happy because this is, in a way, a simulation for the crucial Mars Orbit Injection (MOI)” that would take place on September 24. “The MOI will be exactly similar to this except that we fired four small Newton thrusters today. But we will fire the 440-Newton liquid engine [propulsion system] of the spacecraft for the MOI,” he said. Dr. Annadurai added: “We could not watch today’s manoeuvre because the spacecraft’s orientation will not allow us to see what is happening. Telemetry was not available. The entire manoeuvre was done in the auto mode.” Mr S. Arunan, Project Director, Mars Orbiter Mission, said: “All the health parameters of the Mars Orbiter are all right. Its payloads have been operated and checked. They are doing well. All the systems and sub-systems are doing well.”


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