Mars Orbiter Mission
Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft around Mars (illustration)
NamesMars Orbiter Mission, MOM, Mangalyaan
Mission typeMars orbiter
COSPAR ID2013-060A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.39370
Mission durationPlanned: 6 months[1]
Final: 7 years, 6 months, 8 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerU R Rao Satellite Centre
Launch mass1,337.2 kg (2,948 lb)[3]
BOL mass≈550 kg (1,210 lb)[4]
Dry mass482.5 kg (1,064 lb)[3]
Payload mass13.4 kg (30 lb)[3]
Dimensions1.5 m (4.9 ft) cube
Power840 watts[2]
Start of mission
Launch date5 November 2013, 09:08 (2013-11-05UTC09:08) UTC[5][6]
RocketPSLV-XL C25[7]
Launch siteSatish Dhawan Space Centre, FLP
End of mission
Last contactApril 2022[8]
Mars orbiter
Orbital insertion24 September 2014, 02:10 UTC (7:40 IST)[9][10]
MSD 50027 06:27 AMT
3435 days / 3344 sols
Orbital parameters
Periareon altitude421.7 km (262.0 mi)[9]
Apoareon altitude76,993.6 km (47,841.6 mi)[9]

Insignia depicting journey from Earth to an elliptical Martian orbit using Mars symbol  

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), unofficially known as Mangalyaan[11] (from Sanskrit Maṅgala, 'Mars', and yāna, 'craft, vehicle'),[12][13] was a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[14][15][16][17] It was India's first interplanetary mission[18] and it made ISRO the fourth space agency to achieve Mars orbit, after Roscosmos, NASA, and the European Space Agency.[19] It made India the first Asian nation to reach the Martian orbit and the first nation in the world to do so on its maiden attempt.[20][21][22][23]

The Mars Orbiter Mission probe lifted-off from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (Sriharikota Range SHAR), Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 at 09:08 (UTC) on 5 November 2013.[5][24] The launch window was approximately 20 days long and started on 28 October 2013.[6] The MOM probe spent about a month in Earth orbit, where it made a series of seven apogee-raising orbital manœuvres before trans-Mars injection on 30 November 2013 (UTC).[25] After a 298-day transit to Mars, it was put into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014.

The mission was a technology demonstrator project to develop the technologies for designing, planning, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission.[26] It carried five scientific instruments.[27] The spacecraft was monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Bengaluru, Karnataka.[28]

On 2 October 2022, it was reported that the orbiter had irrecoverably lost communications with Earth after entering a seven-hour eclipse period in April 2022 that it was not designed to survive.[29][30][31] The following day, ISRO released a statement that all attempts to revive MOM had failed and officially declared it dead, citing the loss of fuel and battery power to the probe's instruments.[32]


Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft during encapsulation

In November 2008, the first public acknowledgement of an uncrewed mission to Mars was announced by then-ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair.[33] The MOM mission concept began with a feasibility study in 2010 by the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology after the launch of lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the project on 3 August 2012,[34][35] after the Indian Space Research Organisation completed 125 crore (US$16 million) of required studies for the orbiter.[36] The total project cost may be up to 454 crore (US$57 million).[14][37] The satellite costs 153 crore (US$19 million) and the rest of the budget has been attributed to ground stations and relay upgrades that will be used for other ISRO projects.[38]

The space agency had planned the launch on 28 October 2013 but was postponed to 5 November following the delay in ISRO's spacecraft tracking ships to take up pre-determined positions due to poor weather in the Pacific Ocean.[6] Launch opportunities for a fuel-saving Hohmann transfer orbit occur every 26 months, in this case the next two would be in 2016 and 2018.[39]

Assembly of the PSLV-XL launch vehicle, designated C25, started on 5 August 2013.[40] The mounting of the five scientific instruments was completed at Indian Space Research Organisation Satellite Centre, Bengaluru, and the finished spacecraft was shipped to Sriharikota on 2 October 2013 for integration to the PSLV-XL launch vehicle.[40] The satellite's development was fast-tracked and completed in a record 15 months,[41] partly due to using reconfigured Chandrayaan-2 orbiter bus.[42] Despite the US federal government shutdown, NASA reaffirmed on 5 October 2013 it would provide communications and navigation support to the mission "with their Deep Space Network facilities.".[43] During a meeting on 30 September 2014, NASA and ISRO officials signed an agreement to establish a pathway for future joint missions to explore Mars. One of the working group's objectives will be to explore potential coordinated observations and science analysis between the MAVEN orbiter and MOM, as well as other current and future Mars missions.[44]

On 2 October 2022, it was reported that the orbiter had irrecoverably lost communications with Earth after entering long eclipse period in April 2022 that it was not designed to survive. At the time of communications loss it was unknown whether the probe had lost power or inadvertently realigned its Earth-facing antenna during automatic maneuvers.[29]


Some of the scientists and engineers involved in the mission include:[45]


The total cost of the mission was approximately 450 Crore (US$73 million),[46][47] making it the least-expensive Mars mission to date.[48] The low cost of the mission was ascribed by ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan to various factors, including a "modular approach", few ground tests and long working days (18 to 20 hours) for scientists.[49] BBC's Jonathan Amos specified lower worker costs, home-grown technologies, simpler design, and a significantly less complicated payload than NASA's MAVEN.[27]

Mission objectives

Rendering of the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft.

The primary objective of the mission is to develop the technologies required for designing, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.[26] The secondary objective is to explore Mars' surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.[50]

The main objectives are to develop the technologies required for designing, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission comprising the following major tasks:[51]: 42 

Scientific objectives

The scientific objectives deal with the following major aspects:[51]: 43 

The mission would also provide multiple opportunities to observe the Martian moon Phobos and also offer an opportunity to identify and re-estimate the orbits of asteroids seen during the Martian Transfer Trajectory.[51]: 43  The spacecraft also provided the first views ever of the far side of Martian Moon Deimos.


In May–June 2015 Indian scientists got an opportunity to study the Solar Corona during the Mars conjunction when earth and Mars are on the opposite sides of the sun. During this period the S band waves emitted by MOM were transmitted through the Solar Corona that extends millions of kms into space. This event helped scientists study the Solar surface and regions where temperature changed abruptly.[52]

Spacecraft design

Scientific instruments

Scientific instruments
LAP Lyman-Alpha Photometer 1.97 kg (4.3 lb)
MSM Methane Sensor for Mars [57] 2.94 kg (6.5 lb)
MENCA Mars Exospheric Neutral
Composition Analyser
3.56 kg (7.8 lb)
TIS Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer 3.20 kg (7.1 lb)
MCC Mars Colour Camera 1.27 kg (2.8 lb)
Animated assembly of Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft

The 15 kg (33 lb) scientific payload consists of five instruments:[58][59][60]

Telemetry and command

Further information: Telemetry and Telecommand

The ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network performed navigation and tracking operations for the launch with ground stations at Sriharikota and Port Blair in India, Brunei and Biak in Indonesia,[63] and after the spacecraft's apogee became more than 100,000 km, an 18 m (59 ft) and a 32 m (105 ft) diameter antenna of the Indian Deep Space Network were utilised.[64] The 18 m (59 ft) dish antenna was used for communication with the craft until April 2014, after which the larger 32 m (105 ft) antenna was used.[65] NASA's Deep Space Network is providing position data through its three stations located in Canberra, Madrid and Goldstone on the US West Coast during the non-visible period of ISRO's network.[66] The South African National Space Agency's (SANSA) Hartebeesthoek (HBK) ground station is also providing satellite tracking, telemetry and command services.[67]


Communications are handled by two 230-watt 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-metre (7 ft 3 in) 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.[2]

Mission profile

Timeline of Operations
Phase Date Event Detail Result References
Geocentric phase 5 November 2013 09:08 UTC Launch Burn time: 15:35 min in 5 stages Apogee: 23,550 km (14,630 mi) [68]
6 November 2013 19:47 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Burn time: 416 sec Apogee: 28,825 km (17,911 mi) [69]
7 November 2013 20:48 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Burn time: 570.6 sec Apogee: 40,186 km (24,970 mi) [70][71]
8 November 2013 20:40 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Burn time: 707 sec Apogee: 71,636 km (44,513 mi) [70][72]
10 November 2013 20:36 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Incomplete burn Apogee: 78,276 km (48,638 mi) [73]
11 November 2013 23:33 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre (supplementary) Burn time: 303.8 sec Apogee: 118,642 km (73,721 mi) [70]
15 November 2013 19:57 UTC Orbit raising manoeuvre Burn time: 243.5 sec Apogee: 192,874 km (119,846 mi) [70][74]
30 November 2013 19:19 UTC Trans-Mars injection Burn time: 1328.89 sec Heliocentric insertion [75]
Heliocentric phase December 2013 – September 2014 En route to Mars – The probe travelled a distance of 780,000,000 kilometres (480,000,000 mi) in a Hohmann transfer orbit[39] around the Sun to reach Mars.[65] This phase plan included up to four trajectory corrections if needed. [76][77][78][79][80]
11 December 2013 01:00 UTC 1st Trajectory correction Burn time: 40.5 sec Success [70][78][79][80]
9 April 2014 2nd Trajectory correction (planned) Not required Rescheduled for 11 June 2014 [77][80][81][82][83]
11 June 2014 11:00 UTC 2nd Trajectory correction Burn time: 16 sec Success [81][84]
August 2014 3rd Trajectory correction (planned) Not required[81][85] [77][80]
22 September 2014 3rd Trajectory correction Burn time: 4 sec Success [77][80][86]
Areocentric phase 24 September 2014 Mars orbit insertion Burn time: 1388.67 sec Success [9]
Animation of Mars Orbiter Mission
  Mars Orbiter Mission ·   Mars ·   Earth ·   Sun


Launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission

ISRO originally intended to launch MOM with its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV),[87] but the GSLV failed twice in 2010 and still had issues with its cryogenic engine.[88] Waiting for the new batch of rockets would have delayed the MOM for at least three years,[89] so ISRO opted to switch to the less-powerful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Since it was not powerful enough to place MOM on a direct-to-Mars trajectory, the spacecraft was launched into a highly elliptical Earth orbit and used its own thrusters over multiple perigee burns (to take advantage of the Oberth effect) to place itself on a trans-Mars trajectory.[87]

On 19 October 2013, ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan announced that the launch had to be postponed by a week for 5 November 2013 due to a delay of a crucial telemetry ship reaching Fiji. The launch was rescheduled.[6] ISRO's PSLV-XL placed the satellite into Earth orbit at 09:50 UTC on 5 November 2013,[36] with a perigee of 264.1 km (164.1 mi), an apogee of 23,903.6 km (14,853.0 mi), and inclination of 19.20 degrees,[68] with both the antenna and all three sections of the solar panel arrays deployed.[90] During the first three orbit raising operations, ISRO progressively tested the spacecraft systems.[74]

The orbiter's dry mass is 482.5 kg (1,064 lb) and it carried 852 kg (1,878 lb) of fuel at launch.[3][91][92] Its main engine, a derivative of the system used on India's communications satellites, uses the bipropellant combination monomethylhydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide to achieve the thrust necessary for escape velocity from Earth. It was also used to slow down the probe for Mars orbit insertion and, subsequently, for orbit corrections.[93]

Models used for MOM:[94]

Planetary Ephemeris DE-424
Satellite Ephemeris MAR063
Gravity Model (Earth) GGM02C (100x100)
Gravity Model (Moon) GRAIL360b6a (20x20)
Gravity Model (Mars) MRO95A (95x95)
Earth Atmosphere ISRO: DTM 2012
JPL : DTM 2010
Mars Atmosphere MarsGram 2005
DSN Station Plate Motion ITRF1993 frame, plate motion epoch 01-Jan-2003 00:00 UTC

Orbit raising manoeuvres

Orbit trajectory diagram (not to scale)

Several orbit raising operations were conducted from the Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bengaluru on 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 16 November by using the spacecraft's on-board propulsion system and a series of perigee burns. The first three of the five planned orbit raising manoeuvres were completed with nominal results, while the fourth was only partially successful. However, a subsequent supplementary manoeuvre raised the orbit to the intended altitude aimed for in the original fourth manoeuvre. A total of six burns were completed while the spacecraft remained in Earth orbit, with a seventh burn conducted on 30 November to insert MOM into a heliocentric orbit for its transit to Mars.[95]

The first orbit-raising manoeuvre was performed on 6 November 2013 at 19:47 UTC when the spacecraft's 440-newton (99 lbf) liquid engine was fired for 416 seconds. With this engine firing, the spacecraft's apogee was raised to 28,825 km (17,911 mi), with a perigee of 252 km (157 mi).[69]

The second orbit raising manoeuvre was performed on 7 November 2013 at 20:48 UTC, with a burn time of 570.6 seconds resulting in an apogee of 40,186 km (24,970 mi).[70][71]

The third orbit raising manoeuvre was performed on 8 November 2013 at 20:40 UTC, with a burn time of 707 seconds, resulting in an apogee of 71,636 km (44,513 mi).[70][72]

The fourth orbit raising manoeuvre, starting at 20:36 UTC on 10 November 2013, imparted a delta-v of 35 m/s (110 ft/s) to the spacecraft instead of the planned 135 m/s (440 ft/s) as a result of underburn by the motor.[73][96] Because of this, the apogee was boosted to 78,276 km (48,638 mi) instead of the planned 100,000 km (62,000 mi).[73] 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.[74]

As a result of the fourth planned burn coming up short, an additional unscheduled burn was performed on 12 November 2013 that increased the apogee to 118,642 km (73,721 mi),[70][74] a slightly higher altitude than originally intended in the fourth manoeuvre.[70][97] The apogee was raised to 192,874 km (119,846 mi) on 15 November 2013, 19:57 UTC in the final orbit raising manoeuvre.[70][97]

Trans-Mars injection

Further information: Trans-Mars injection

On 30 November 2013 at 19:19 UTC, a 23-minute engine firing initiated the transfer of MOM away from Earth orbit and on heliocentric orbit toward Mars.[25] The probe travelled a distance of 780,000,000 kilometres (480,000,000 mi) to reach Mars.[98]

Trajectory correction maneuvers

Four trajectory corrections were originally planned, but only three were carried out.[77] The first trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM) was carried out on 11 December 2013 at 01:00 UTC by firing the 22-newton (4.9 lbf) thrusters for a duration of 40.5 seconds.[70][99] After this event, MOM was following the designed trajectory so closely that the trajectory correction manoeuvre planned in April 2014 was not required. The second trajectory correction manoeuvre was performed on 11 June 2014 at 11:00 UTC by firing the spacecraft's 22 newton thrusters for 16 seconds.[100] The third planned trajectory correction manoeuvre was postponed, due to the orbiter's trajectory closely matching the planned trajectory.[101] The third trajectory correction was also a deceleration test 3.9 seconds long on 22 September 2014.[86]

Mars orbit insertion

The plan was for an insertion into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014,[10][102] approximately 2 days after the arrival of NASA's MAVEN orbiter.[103] The 440-newton liquid apogee motor was test fired on 22 September at 09:00 UTC for 3.968 seconds, about 41 hours before actual orbit insertion.[102][104][105]

Date Time (UTC) Event
23 September 2014 10:47:32 Satellite communication switched to medium gain antenna
24 September 2014 01:26:32 Forward rotation started for deceleration burn
01:42:19 Eclipse started
01:44:32 Attitude control manoeuvre performed with thrusters
01:47:32 Liquid Apogee Motor starts firing
02:11:46 Liquid Apogee Motor stops firing

After these events, the spacecraft performed a reverse manoeuvre to reorient from its deceleration burn and entered Martian orbit.[9][106][4]


The chairman, ISRO, Shri A.S. Kiran Kumar releasing the Mars Atlas on the occasion of the completion of one year of Mars Orbiter Mission in Orbit, in Bengaluru. The Scientific Secretary, ISRO, Dr. Y.V.N. Krishnamoorthy

The orbit insertion put MOM in a highly elliptical orbit around Mars, as planned, with a period of 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds, a periapsis of 421.7 km (262.0 mi) and apoapsis of 76,993.6 km (47,841.6 mi).[9] At the end of the orbit insertion, MOM was left with 40 kg (88 lb) of fuel on board, more than the 20 kg (44 lb) necessary for a six-month mission.[107]

On 28 September 2014, MOM controllers published the spacecraft's first global view of Mars. The image was captured by the Mars Colour Camera (MCC).[108]

On 7 October 2014, the ISRO altered MOM's orbit so as to move it behind Mars for comet Siding Spring's flyby of the planet on 19 October 2014. The spacecraft consumed 1.9 kg (4 lb) of fuel for the manoeuvre. As a result, MOM's apoapsis was reduced to 72,000 km (45,000 mi).[109] After the comet passed by Mars, ISRO reported that MOM remained healthy.[110]

On 4 March 2015, the ISRO reported that the MSM instrument was functioning normally and are studying Mars' albedo, the reflectivity of the planet's surface. The Mars Colour Camera was also returning new images of the Martian surface.[111][112]

On 24 March 2015, MOM completed its initial six-month mission in orbit around Mars. ISRO extended the mission by an additional six months; the spacecraft has 37 kg (82 lb) of propellant remaining and all five of its scientific instruments are working properly.[113] The orbiter can reportedly continue orbiting Mars for several years with its remaining propellant.[114]

A 17-day communications blackout occurred from 6 to 22 June 2015 while Mars' orbit took it behind the Sun from Earth's view.[51]: 52 

On 24 September 2015, ISRO released its Mars Atlas, a 120-page scientific atlas containing images and data from the Mars Orbiter Mission's first year in orbit.[115]

In March 2016, the first science results of the mission were published in Geophysical Research Letters, presenting measurements obtained by the spacecraft's MENCA instrument of the Martian exosphere.[116][117]

During 18 to 30 May 2016, a communication whiteout occurred with Earth coming directly between Sun and Mars. Due to high solar radiation, sending commands to spacecraft was avoided and payload operations were suspended.[118]

On 17 January 2017, MOM's orbit was altered to avoid the impending eclipse season. With a burn of eight 22 N thrusters for 431 seconds, resulting in a velocity difference of 97.5 metres per second (351 km/h) using 20 kilograms (44 lb) of propellant (leaving 13 kg remaining), eclipses were avoided until September 2017. The battery is able to handle eclipses of up to 100 minutes.[119]

On 19 May 2017, MOM reached 1,000 days (973 sols) in orbit around Mars. In that time, the spacecraft completed 388 orbits of the planet and relayed more than 715 images back to Earth. ISRO officials stated that it remains in good health.[120]

On 24 September 2018, MOM completed 4 years in its orbit around Mars, although the designed mission life was only six months. Over these years, MOM's Mars Colour Camera has captured over 980 images that were released to the public. The probe is still in good health and continues to work nominally.[121]

On 24 September 2019, MOM completed 5 years in orbit around Mars, sending 2 terabytes of imaging data, and had enough propellant to complete another year in orbit.[122]

On 1 July 2020, MOM was able to capture a photo of the Mars satellite Phobos from 4200 km away.[123]

On 18 July 2021 Mars Colour Camera (MCC) captured full disc image of Mars from an altitude of about 75,000 km with spatial resolution about 3.7 km.[124]

In October 2022, ISRO admitted that it has lost the communication with MOM in April 2022, when it faced increasingly longer duration eclipses, including a seven-hour long eclipse that it was not designed to withstand. ISRO said the spacecraft was likely out of propellant and not recoverable.[31][30][29]


Illustration of Mars Orbiter Mission on the reverse side of Mahatma Gandhi New Series 2000 banknote

In 2014, China referred to India's successful Mars Orbiter Mission as the "Pride of Asia".[125] The Mars Orbiter Mission team won US-based National Space Society's 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the science and engineering category. NSS said the award was given as the Indian agency successfully executed a Mars mission in its first attempt; and the spacecraft is in an elliptical orbit with a high apoapsis where, with its high resolution camera, it is taking full-disk colour imagery of Mars. Very few full disk images have ever been taken in the past, mostly on approach to the planet, as most imaging is done looking straight down in mapping mode. These images will aid planetary scientists.[126][127][128]

An illustration of the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft is featured on the reverse of the ₹2,000 currency note of India.[129]

An image taken by the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft was the cover photo of the November 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine, for their story "Mars: Race to the Red Planet".[130][131]

Follow-up mission

ISRO plans to develop and launch a follow-up mission called Mars Orbiter Mission 2 (MOM-2 or Mangalyaan-2) with a greater scientific payload to Mars in 2024.[132][133][134] The orbiter will use aerobraking to reduce apoapsis of its initial orbit and reach an altitude more suitable for scientific observation.[135]

In popular culture

See also


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