Mangalyaan, India's maiden Mars Orbiter Mission sent by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), crossed moon's orbit on Monday in its journey to the Red planet.
This is the first time ISRO has manoeuvred its spacecraft into deep space. Mangalyaan has crossed the distance of moon's orbit around Earth (mean distance 3, 85,000 km).
"The Mars Orbiter spacecraft has crossed the Moon orbit's this morning. So technically after crossing Moon's orbit of around 3, 85,000 km, it is now travelling beyond the Moon. It has already crossed 5, 36,000 km as of 5pm on Monday," ISRO sources told PTI.
The space organisation had successfully tossed the Orbiter to Mars in the Trans Mars Trajectory (TMI), i.e. the sun-centric orbit on 1 December. After the completion of this manoeuvre, the Earth orbiting phase of the spacecraft ended and the spacecraft was put on course to encounter Mars after a journey of about 10 months around the sun. The spacecraft has to travel 680 million km to reach its destination.
ISRO has pushed the spacecraft closer to the helio-centric orbit in five orbit raising manoeuvres beginning from November. Mangalyaan was successfully launched by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle- C25 (PSLV) on 5 November from Sriharikota.
The 1,340 kg Orbiter, carrying five scientific instruments to study the Martian surface and atmosphere, is being monitored, commanded, navigated and controlled by scientists at Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore.
The spacecraft will be set in the Martian orbit in September 2014. It will then be tracked through Deep Space Network from ISTRAC and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Orbiter will travel for 300 days in deep space to reach the Martian orbit.
The ₹450-crore mission is a technology demonstrator that will help ISRO develop technologies required for designing, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.