The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), more fondly called Mangalyaan, has completed 75 percent of its journey to the red planet, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said. MOM is India's first interplanetary mission.
"The Mars Orbiter spacecraft has covered a distance of approximately 510 million kilometers on its heliocentric arc towards Mars capture. With this, three-fourth of the journey to mars has been completed. MOM and her payloads are in good health," ISRO announced on its Facebook page on 3 July.
MOM is slated to enter the Mars atmosphere on 24 September. The Mars Mission project, which cost ₹ 450 crore was launched last year on 5 November, making it the country's first space mission to Mars and one of the most cost-effective ones in the world.
Here is a timeline of the Mangalyaan after it took off last year, as per the official website of the space organization:
5 November 2013 – Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft was successfully launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR Sriharikota.
7 November 2013 – Two days later, it underwent its first 'orbit-raising maneuver', pushing it 252 kilometers away from Earth. MOM went through more such orbit-raising maneuvers in the subsequent days.
2 December 2013 – The spacecraft travelled a distance of 5,36,000 kilometers in under a month.
4 December 2013 – MOM left the Earth's Sphere of Influence that extends to about 9,25,000 kilometers.
11 December 2013 – The spacecraft underwent its first trajectory correction maneuver.
12 February 2014 – The Mars Orbiter Mission completed 100 successful days in space.
9 April 2014 – The Mars Orbiter Mission crossed half the distance to Mars, thus completing half of its almost year-long journey to the red planet.
12 June 2014 – The spacecraft covered a distance of about 466 million kilometers and reached a radio distance of 102 million kilometers from Earth. A radio signal from Earth took about 340 seconds to reach the spacecraft.
3 July 2014 – MOM covered 75 percent of its journey to Mars, thus entering the last quarter of its space travel before it enters the Mars orbit on 24 September, thus completing its 300-day journey. The spacecraft has covered 510 million kilometers.
The mission is said to have two objectives – technical and scientific.
While the technical objective of ISRO behind this mission was to develop technologies for inter-planetary missions, its scientific aim is to explore the surface and atmosphere of Mars.