The orbit of the Mars Orbiter Mission 'Mangalyaan' has successfully be realigned by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The changes have been done in order to protect the Mangalyaan from the affect of long-duration eclipse.
"The duration of the eclipse was so long that had we done nothing, the Mangalyaan's battery capacity would have got exhausted due to lack of sun rays. No effect of the eclipse was felt on Mangalyaan,” ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of Gujarat Technological University's convocation.
"On the evening of January 17, we manoeuvred to change the orbit of Mangalyaan and reduced the duration of eclipse," Kumar said.
"The experiment was successful. The spacecraft still has 30kg fuel left, and with realignment we expect it to work for a very long time to come," he said.
The shadow of Mars would fell on Mangalyaan for 7-8 hours, causing the eclipse. Hence, in order to keep Mangalyaan's power supply strong during the eclipse by making the correction in its trajectory.
This was done to enable Mangalyaan function for a longer period as its battery cannot support long-duration eclipse.
The work on ISRO's ambitious South Asia satellite project has kicked off, said Kumar. He said that the satellite is likely to be launched by March 2017.
"Work on assembly of rocket has begun and we expect to launch it by March. The satellite will be carried on GSLV Mark II. The satellite will have provisions for telecommunication and disaster monitoring, among others," he said.
He also said that the work on 'Chandrayaan II' has commenced and it is likely to be launched in 2018.
"Experiment works on Chandrayaan II are on. We are testing soft landing engines at Mahendragiri and a place in Karnataka by simulating lunar surface. We plan to launch it in the first half of 2018," he said.
The 6th convocation of Gujarat Technological University honoured Kumar as the chief guest. A total 87,258 students were conferred degrees in different streams of engineering, pharmacy, business administration, computer application, hotel management, among others.
What is Mars Orbiter Mission?
The Mars Orbiter Mission or Mangalyaan is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. ISRO launched the Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5, 2013.
Mangalyaan is India's first interplanetary mission. With this mission, ISRO has become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency.
India is the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt.
Mangalyaan was launched from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (Sriharikota Range SHAR), Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket on November 5, 2013.