Mars Orbiter Mission
Artist's rendering of the MOM orbiting Mars
Mission typeMars orbiter
COSPAR ID2013-060A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.39370
Mission duration300 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass1,337 kg (2,948 lb)[2]
Dry mass500 kg (1,100 lb)[3]
Payload mass15 kg (33 lb)[4]
Dimensions1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) cube
Power840 watts[1]
Start of mission
Launch date5 November 2013, 09:08 (2013-11-05UTC09:08Z) UTC[5]
RocketPSLV-XL C25[6]
Launch siteSatish Dhawan FLP
Orbital parameters
Reference systemAreocentric
Periareon altitude365.3 km (227.0 mi)
Apoareon altitude80,000 km (50,000 mi)
Inclination150.0 [7]
Period76.72 hours
Mars orbiter
Orbital insertion24 September 2014[8]

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called Mangalyaan (Sanskrit: मंगलयान, "Mars-craft"), is a Mars orbiter that was successfully launched into Earth orbit on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[9][10][11] The mission is a "technology demonstrator" project aiming to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.[12]

The Mars Orbiter Mission probe lifted-off from the First Launch Pad at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh near Chennai, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 at 09:08 UTC (2:38 PM IST) on 5 November 2013.[13] The launch window was approximately 20 days long and started on 28 October 2013.[5] It is India's first interplanetary mission and if successful, ISRO would become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and European Space Agency.[14]

The MOM probe is currently in Earth orbit where it is in a month-long process of making six altitude-raising orbital manoeuvres before a planned insertion into a heliocentric Mars transfer orbit on 30 November 2013.


The MOM mission began with a feasibility study in 2010, after the successful launch of lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1 in 2008.[15] The government of India approved the project on 3 August 2012,[16] after the Indian Space Research Organisation completed 125 crore (US$15 million) of required studies for the orbiter.[17] The total project cost may be up to 454 crore (US$54 million).[9][18] The satellite costs 153 crore (US$18 million) and the rest of the budget has been attributed to ground stations and relay upgrades that will be used for other ISRO projects.[19] The space agency had initially planned the launch on 28 October 2013 but was postponed to 5 November 2013 following the inability of ISRO's spacecraft tracking ships to take up pre-determined positions due to poor weather in the Pacific ocean.[5] Launch opportunities for a fuel-saving Hohmann transfer orbit occur about every 26 months, in this case, 2016 and 2018.[20] The Mars Orbiter's on-orbit mission life will be between six and ten months.

Assembly of the PSLV-XL launch vehicle, designated C25, started on 5 August 2013.[21] The integration of the five scientific instruments was completed at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, and the finished spacecraft was shipped to Sriharikotta on 2 October 2013.[21] The satellite's development was fast-tracked and completed in a record 15 months.[22] Despite the U.S. federal government shutdown, NASA reaffirmed on 5 October 2013 it would provide communications and navigation support to the mission.[23]

P. Kunhikrishnan was the PSLV-XL spacecraft launch Mission Director. Mylswamy Annadurai is the Program Director and S.Arunan is the Project Director. S. K. Shivkumar of ISAC was responsible for the orbiting payload and also oversaw design and development of the orbiter.[24]

Current status

On 19 October 2013, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan announced that the launch had to be postponed by a week as a result of a delay of a crucial telemetry ship reaching Fiji Islands. The launch was rescheduled for 5 November 2013.[25]

The PSLV rocket successfully lifted off at 09:08 UTC (2:38 p.m. IST), and placed into Earth orbit at 09:50 UTC,[26] with a perigee of 264.1 km, an apogee of 23,903.6 km, and inclination of 19.20 degrees,[27] with both the antenna and all three sections of the solar panel arrays being deployed.[28] ISRO has progressively tested the autonomy functions of the space craft that are essential for trans-Mars injection and Mars orbit insertion during the first three orbit raising operations.[29] Systems tested satisfactorily:

Orbit raising manoeuvres

Orbit-raising burns
Date Burn time
November 5
23,903 km
November 6 416 28,825 km
November 7 570.6 40,186 km
November 8 707 71,636 km
November 10 Incomplete 78,276 km
November 12
303.8 118,642 km[30]
November 16
December 1

Six orbit raising operations were planned to be conducted from the Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bangalore on 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 16 November and on 1 December by using the craft's on-board propulsion system. The aim is to gradually build up the necessary escape velocity (11 km/s) to break free from Earth's gravitational pull. The first three orbit raising manoeuvres were successfully completed, while the fourth was only partially successful. However, the subsequent supplementary fifth manoeuvre raised the orbit to the intended altitude aimed for in the original fourth manoeuvre.

First orbit raising

The first orbit-raising manoeuvre was performed in 6 November 2013 at 19:47 UTC when the 440 Newton liquid engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds. With this engine firing, the spacecraft's apogee was raised to 28,825 km, while its perigee is at 252 km.[31]

Second orbit raising

The second orbit raising manoeuvre, starting at 20:48:51 UTC on 7 November 2013, with a burn time of 570.6 seconds has been successfully completed. The resulting apogee was 40,186 km.[30][32]

Third orbit raising

The third orbit raising manoeuvre, starting at 20:40:43 UTC on 8 November 2013, with a burn time of 707 seconds was successfully completed. The apogee was increased to 71,636 km.[30][33]

Fourth orbit raising

The fourth orbit raising manoeuvre, starting at 20:36 UTC on 10 November 2013, only imparted a velocity of 35 m/s to the spacecraft instead of the planned 135 m/s as a result of underburn by the liquid apogee motor.[34][35] Because of this, the apogee was boosted to 78,276 km instead of the planned 100,000 km.[34] When testing the redundancies built-in for the propulsion system, the flow to the liquid engine stopped, with consequent reduction in incremental velocity. During the fourth orbit burn, the primary and redundant coils of the solenoid flow control valve of 440 Newton liquid engine and logic for thrust augmentation by the attitude control thrusters were being tested. When both primary and redundant coils were energised together during the planned modes, the flow to the liquid engine stopped. Operating both the coils simultaneously is not possible for future operations, however they could be operated independently of each other, in sequence.[29]

Fourth orbit supplemental raising

A supplemental burn was done on 12 November 2013 that successfully increased the apogee to 118,642 km,[30][29] the apogee originally intended to be obtained in the fourth manoeuvre.


The primary objective of the Mars Orbiter Mission is to showcase India's rocket launch systems, spacecraft-building and operations capabilities.[36] Specifically, the primary objective is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission, comprising the following major tasks:[12]

The secondary objective is to explore Mars' surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.[36]


India's PSLV launch vehicle

The spacecraft structure and propulsion hardware configurations are similar to Chandrayaan 1, India's first successful robotic lunar orbiter that operated from 2008 to 2009, with specific improvements and upgrades needed for a Mars specific mission.[36]

The lift-off mass was 1,350 kg (2,980 lb), including 852 kg (1,878 lb) of propellant mass.
Cuboid in shape of approximately 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
The spacecraft's bus is a modified I-1 K structure and propulsion hardware configurations similar to Chandrayaan 1, India's successful lunar orbiter that operated from 2008 to 2009, with specific improvements and upgrades needed for a Mars mission.[36] The satellite structure is of aluminum and composite fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) sandwich construction.
Electric power is generated by three solar array panels of 1.8 m × 1.4 m (5 ft 11 in × 4 ft 7 in) each (7.56 m2 (81.4 sq ft) total), for a maximum of 840 W generation in Martian orbit. Electricity is stored in a 36 Ah Li-ion battery.[1]
Liquid fuel engine of 440 N thrust is used for orbit raising and insertion in Martian orbit.
Two 230 W TWTAs and two coherent transponders. The antenna array consists of a low-gain antenna, a medium-gain antenna and a high-gain antenna. The High-gain antenna system is based on a single 2.2 meter reflector illuminated by a feed at S-band. It is used to transmit and receive the telemetry, tracking, commanding and data to and from the Indian Deep Space Network.[1]


The 15 kg (33 lb) scientific payload consists of five instruments:[4][37][38]

Atmospheric studies
Particle environment studies
Surface imaging studies

Launch, transfer and orbit

The ISRO used its PSLV-XL (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket to launch the Mars Orbiter Mission.[17] The launch, on 5 November 2013, placed the Mars Orbiter Mission into Earth orbit. Six orbit raising operations will be conducted on 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 16 November by using the craft's on-board propulsion system, which is a derivative of the system used on India's communications satellites.[39][40] These manoeuvres will raise the orbit to one with an apogee of 192,000 km (119,000 mi) and perigee of 252 km (157 mi),[41][42] where it will remain for about 15 days.[8][43] A final firing on 1 December 2013 will send MOM onto an interplanetary trajectory.[8][44][45] Mars orbit insertion is planned for 24 September 2014,[8] and would allow the spacecraft to enter a highly elliptical orbit with a period of 76.72 hours and a periapsis of 365.3 km (227.0 mi) and apo-apsis of 80,000 km (50,000 mi) around Mars.[42] The Mars Orbiter will have to travel a distance of 780 million kilometers (484 million miles) to reach Mars.[46]

The spacecraft's dry mass is 500 kilograms (1,100 lb), and it carries 852 kilograms (1,878 lb) of fuel and oxidiser. The main engine uses the bipropellant combination monomethylhydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide for orbit insertion and other manoeuvres.[3] The probe is expected to arrive in Mars orbit in September 2014 approximately at the same time as NASA's MAVEN orbiter.[47]


The Indian Space Research Organisation Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network performed navigation and tracking operations for the launch with ground stations at Sriharikota, Port Blair, Brunei and Biak in Indonesia,[48] and after the spacecraft's apogee becomes more than 1,00,000 km, two large 18-metre and 32-metre diameter antennas of the Indian Deep Space Network will be utilised.[49] NASA's Deep Space Network will provide position data through its three stations located in Canberra, Madrid and Goldstone on the U.S. West Coast during the non-visible period of ISRO's network.[50] Additional monitoring is provided by technicians on board two leased ships from Shipping Corporation of India, SCI Nalanda and SCI Yamuna which are currently in position in the South Pacific near Fiji.[51][49]

See also


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  2. ^ ISRO: Mars Orbiter Mission - Spacecraft
  3. ^ a b 's+Mars+Orbiter+Mission.jpg Aero India 2013 Expo
  4. ^ a b c "Mars Orbiter MIssion - Payloads" (PDF). Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). ISRO. October 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "India to launch Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5". NDTV. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  6. ^ ISRO: Mars Orbiter Mission - Launch Vehicle
  7. ^ ISRO: Mars Orbiter Mission
  8. ^ a b c d "NASA findings won't affect Mars mission, say ISRO officials". Express News Service. 4 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  9. ^ a b Walton, Zach (15 August 2012). "India Announces Mars Mission One Week After Landing". Web Pro News. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Manmohan Singh formally announces India's Mars mission". The Hindu. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012. ((cite news)): Cite uses deprecated parameter |authors= (help)
  11. ^ Bal, Hartosh Singh (30 August 2012). "BRICS in Space". New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  12. ^ a b Staff (September 2012). "Mangalyaan -Mission Objectives". Indian Space Science Data Centre. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  13. ^ "India's Mars Mission Mangalyaan to be launched on November 5". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  14. ^ "India Launches Mars Orbiter Mission". Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  15. ^ "India Might Just Get A Spaceship To Mars". CarbonatedTV. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Cabinet clears Mars mission". The Hindu. 4 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  17. ^ a b India's Mars mission gets Rs.125 crore (19 March 2012)
  18. ^ "'We are planning to send our first orbiter to Mars in 2013'". Deccan chronicle. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  19. ^ Rocket science: how ISRO flew to Mars cheap - Hindustan Times
  20. ^ "India plans mission to Mars next year". nydailynews.com. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  21. ^ a b Isro kicks off Mars mission campaign with PSLV assembly Times of India Retrieved 6 August 2013
  22. ^ "India's Mission Mars: The journey begins". NDTV. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013. ((cite news)): |first= missing |last= (help)
  23. ^ "NASA Reaffirms Support for Mars Orbiter Mission". ISRO. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
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  30. ^ a b c d Latest Updates Indian Space Research Organisation: Mars Orbiter Mission. 8 November 2013.
  31. ^ ISRO scientists raise orbit of Mars spacecraft. Times of India 7 November 2013
  32. ^ Second orbit raising manoeuvre on Mars Mission performed Indian Express 8 November 2013.
  33. ^ ISRO successfully completes third orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars probe Zee News 9 November 2013
  34. ^ a b Mars mission faces first hurdle, 4th orbit-raising operation falls short of target. Times of India. 11 November 2013
  35. ^ Lakdawalla, Emily (10 November 2013). "A hiccup in the orbital maneuvers for Mars Orbiter Mission". Planetary Society blogs. The Planetary Society. Retrieved 11 November 2013. ((cite web)): External link in |work= (help)
  36. ^ a b c d "India's First Mission to Mars to Launch This Month". Space.com. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013. ((cite news)): |first= missing |last= (help)
  37. ^ Chellappan, Kumar (11January 2013). "Amangal to budget from Mangalyaan, say experts". Daily Pioneer. Retrieved 11 January 2013. ((cite news)): Check date values in: |date= (help)
  38. ^ "Mars mission gets October, 2013 launch date deadline as India reaches out to the stars". The Indian Express. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  39. ^ "MARS ORBITER MISSION". N2YO. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  40. ^ "Indian spacecraft soars on historic journey to Mars". Space Flight Now. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  41. ^ Mars mission starts, Mangalyaan launched successfully Times of India 5 November 2013
  42. ^ a b "Trajectory Design" (PDF (5.37Mb)). Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). October 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  43. ^ "Mars Orbiter MIssion - Home page". Indian Space Research Organisation. November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  44. ^ Laxman, Srinivas (9 October 2012). "India test-fires Mars mission engine". Times of India. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  45. ^ Lakdawalla, Emily (9 October 2012). "Mangalyaan update: Testing of main engine underway". Planetary Society. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  46. ^ "Indian spacecraft soars on historic journey to Mars".
  47. ^ India's first mission to Mars to launch this month CBS News 15 October 2013
  48. ^ "Bangalore centre to control Mars orbiter henceforth". Deccan Herald. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
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  51. ^ "India, ISRO gear up for Mars odyssey glory." Times of India. 4 November 2013.