India's first interplanetary probe, Mars Orbiter Spacecraft covered half of its total distance to Mars from the Earth on 09 April 2014 at 9:50 am IST and is currently in its designated helio-centric trajectory.
The Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was launched on 05 November 2013 at 02:30 p.m. by India's rocket PSLV-C25 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre was conducted successfully on 01 December 2013.
The spacecraft has been continuously monitored by ISRO with the help of Deep Space Network managed by NASA-JPL. The First Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM) was done on 11 December 2013.
The health of the spacecraft is normal and is being continuously monitored by the ground station of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore. Since the spacecraft is in its right trajectory, the TCM will now be carried out in June 2014.
At present, the radio distance between the Spacecraft and the Earth is 39 million km. A signal from the Earth to the Spacecraft and back to Earth takes 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Soon, the High Gain Antenna of the Spacecraft will be put in service for handling communications with the ground stations, according to the ISRO press release.
Incidentally, the spacecraft is covering half the total distance on its way to Red Planet, a day after Earth was at its closest to the Mars, in their orbits. The spacecraft's thrust system is configured for the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre and would be performed on 24 September 2014.
Both the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft and the five scientific instruments are in proper condition. Tests are being periodically done to manage the contingencies of the autonomy built.
Photo Credit: ISRO