Mars Orbiter lift-off postponed by a week

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on October 19, 2013

Planet Mars   -  Picture credit: Wikipedia

Once launched, the Mars Orbiter will go around the earth for 20-25 days before embarking on a nine-month voyage to the red planet.

The launch of the Rs 450-crore Mars Orbiter Mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation has been postponed by a week as a ship carrying the rocket tracking terminal could not reach Fiji on time. The launch was planned for October 28 from ISRO’s Sriharikota launch pad in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Two ships – Nalanda and Yamuna – have terminals on board to track the rocket after it is launched. While Yamuna reached Fiji on time, Nalanda is expected to reach on October 21.

The ships must relay information on the last stage and ejection of the spacecraft into space.

A fresh date is likely to be announced on October 22, according to Deviprasad Karnik, spokesperson for ISRO.

Bad weather in the South Pacific delayed the ship , he told Business Line. The launch window, however, is open between October 28 and November 19, he said.

The two ships left Vishakapatnam on September 15 and will halt at Suva in Fiji. A team of ISRO’s satellite communication-navigation experts will be on board for the next three months. Since the trajectory of the rocket is different, ISRO’s ground stations will not be able to track its movement.

While one ship will track the ignition, the other will capture the satellite’s separation.

The ships will receive information about the functioning of the rocket’s sub-systems during launch and pass it almost in real-time to the launch control centre located India, said an ISRO official.


The orbiter is planned to be launched through the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (mission PSLV-25). The rocket has been assembled and the satellite integration is in progress. One of the mission’s main objectives is to develop technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.

Once launched, the Mars Orbiter will go around the earth for 20-25 days before embarking on a nine month voyage to the red planet.

It will be involved in the exploration of surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.

Recently, US space agency NASA reaffirmed its support for the mission. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab is providing communications and navigation support to the mission with their Deep Space Network facilities.


Published on October 19, 2013
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