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Mars mission will be a big leap for the country: ISRO

BANGALORE: If the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifts off on November 5 from Sriharikota as planned, it will be watched by more than a normal share of anxious eyes. It is a difficult mission, and fickle weather adds to the complexity. But ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan is not prone to fits of worry. “The PSLV is the best vehicle in its class,” he says, “which is why many countries

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are using it now to launch their satellites.” A mission to Mars will require taking into account the influence of earth, the moon, the sun and, of course, the destination planet, all of which keep changing positions with the day of the launch. A small error in calculation will miss the target by tens of thousands of miles. “The spacecraft’s arrival point on Mars has to be calculated to an accuracy of 60 miles about 280 days in advance,” says Radhakrishnan. “It takes beyond textbook mechanics to achieve this precision.” An excursion to the red planet does not come easy to even to the most experienced. The Russians have a long history of failures in Mars missions. The Chinese have not yet attempted its own mission, and so Mangalyaan is extra special for India. “It will be a big leap for the country,” says Goverdhan Mehta, space commission member. The Americans, Russians and Europeans have used larger rockets for their Mars missions. India is using the smaller PSLV, usually used to put small satellites into a low-earth orbit over the poles. The launch window to Mars is very small, the next one being available only in 2018. ISRO has already postponed the launch once due to bad weather. If the PSLV does not go up before November 19, ISRO has to wait for another five years to get similar conditions. The PSLV is India’s most mature rocket. ISRO has launched 35 satellites so far using PSLV and 10 are in waiting list for launch. The Mars mission will use PSLV in new ways, thereby adding new complexities. The trajectory of the spacecraft is very different to begin with. Source : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/et-cetera/mars-mission-things-you-need-to-know/articleshow/24679899.cms

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