Mars mission: Isro readies to lower spacecraft speed

As D-day approaches for Mangalyaan’s entry to Mars, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for its next big challenge — lowering the velocity of the spacecraft.The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is slated to enter the planet’s atmosphere on September 24 at 7:15 am. “Mangalyaan has to travel only 88 million km more in its heliocentric trajectory to reach Mars. It now takes 20 minutes for radio signals to reach MOM and return,” said the Facebook page of ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission. The next great challenge is to reduce the velocity of the spacecraft to 1.6 km/sec by firing the LAM engine. The engine has been lying idle for the past 300 days and to restart it will be a great challenge. “The firing has to be done very precisely. When we reduce the spacecraft’s velocity, it should be close enough to Mars for it to be captured by the planet’s gravity,” an official spokesperson said.


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