AsianScientist (Oct. 11, 2012) – On Monday, the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) program crossed an important milestone with the successful test firing for the first time of the liquid apogee motor at 1 am (IST).
Speaking to Asian Scientist Magazine, ISRO chief spokesperson Devi Prasad Karnik said that the engine was fired for about 670 seconds and the test would go on for another 45 days.
The test was carried out at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Center at Mahendra Giri in Tamil Nadu. The engine is fired during orbit raising maneuvers.
An ISRO official said that the challenge in the mission was that the engine has to restart after 300 days when the orbiter enters the Martian orbit.
According to the present Mars mission profile, after launch, the 1,350 kg orbiter will operate around the earth-bound orbit six times as its altitude is raised before it begins its 300-day journey towards the Red Planet.
A chart prepared by ISRO showed that in the final orbit the orbiter’s furthest point from earth will be 215,000 km and the nearest 600 km.
After going around the earth six times, the orbiter will depart for Mars on November 26, 2013 and enter the Mars orbit on September 21, 2014. This is known as the Mars Orbit Insertion and is a crucial and nail biting operation.
In a recent visit to the ISRO Satellite Center at Bangalore, Asian Scientist Magazine had the opportunity to see the orbiter in the clean room. In the coming days, it will be prepared for the challenging mission and it will start undergoing various tests from March 2013.
Source : Asian Scientist