India’s Mars orbiter’s main liquid engine test fired successfully
BANGALORE: In a crucial manoeuvre ahead of India’s
Mars orbiter’s entry into the final destination on September 24, the main
liquid engine on the spacecraft was on Monday successfully test fired and its
The 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) engine,
idling for the last 300 days on the Mars Orbiter Mission, was fired for four
seconds, raising the confidence level of ISRO about the success of insertion of
the spacecraft into the Martian orbit.
“Main Liquid Engine test firing on Mars orbiter
spacecraft successful: We had perfect burn for 4 seconds as programmed. The
trajectory has been corrected. Mars Orbiter Mission will now go ahead with the
normal plan for Mars Orbit Insertion,” said ISRO.
The success came even as MOM today entered the Mars
Gravitational Sphere of Influence. “Our navigators’ calculations show that MOM
has entered the Gravitational Sphere of Influence of Mars,” ISRO said.
The spacecraft was within 5.4 lakh km radius of the
Mars' Gravitational Sphere of Influence, it said. On a 666 million km journey,
the spacecraft escaped the earth gravity pull on December 1 last.
In the last lap on September 24, the orbiter has to be
slowed down from 22.1 km per second to 4.4 km per second in relation to the red
planet to be captured by the Martian orbit. The engine would be fired for 24
minutes on that day to reduce its velocity and insert it into the Martian
ISRO has already uploaded commands to help the
spacecraft automatically enter the orbit. The mission’s success will make India
the first country in the world to go to Mars in the maiden attempt.
As India’s MOM was on course to its destination, US
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft began orbiting Mars on Monday.