Despite the glitch, ISRO scientists are trying to allay apprehension over the ambitious mission to the red planet. “The spacecraft is in normal health. There is no cause of worry at all. There is no problem at all in the system. The mission is 100% safe,” ISRO spokesman Deviprasad Karnik tells Aviation Week.
To make up for the shortfall, the space agency has planned a supplementary orbit-raising operation early Nov. 12 to raise the apogee to the targeted 100,000 km. “Efforts are under way to rectify all deviations,” Karnik says.
The probe will study the thin Martian atmosphere to determine the existence and sustainability of life and focus on the climate, geology, origin and evolution of the planet with its five solar-powered instruments. The mission will cost around 4.5 billion rupees ($80.7 million).
Rather than take a direct trajectory to the red planet, the orbiter is due to orbit around the Earth for nearly a month after launch, assembling the necessary speed to break free from Earth’s gravitational pull before embarking on a nine-month voyage to Mars. The current plan includes insertion of the satellite in an orbit around Mars on Sept. 22, 2014.
The mission is being supported by NASA, which is providing communications and navigation support through its Deep Space Network facilities.