BANGALORE, India — India's 4.5 billion rupee ($73.5 million) mission to Mars, the nation’s first true interplanetary probe, is now slated to lift off Nov. 5 at 2:36 local time from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced Oct. 22.
The launch of the 2,976 pound (1,350 kilogram) Mars Orbiter Mission aboard an enhanced version of ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle had been scheduled for Oct. 28, but was delayed because ships equipped to track the spacecraft after its separation from the rocket could not take up their designated positions in the south Pacific Ocean in time due to bad weather. The spacecraft, dubbed Mangalyan, has been mated with the launcher and the heat shield has been closed, ISRO said.
If everything goes according to plan, Mangalyan will leave Earth orbit in November and cruise in deep space for 10 months using an onboard propulsion system before entering into a 231 mile (372 kilometers) by 49,709 mile (80,000 kilometers) elliptical orbit around Mars. ISRO says the primary objectives of the orbiter are to demonstrate India’s technological capability, look for signs of life and study the planet’s atmospheric composition.
This story was provided by SpaceNews, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.
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Dr. Killugudi S. Jayaraman holds a PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. According to the Biotech Times, Dr. Jayaraman played a critical role in Indian science journalism, placing Indian science on a global platform. He was the first Science Editor of the Press Trust of India (PTI), editor of Nature India and Science Editor with IANS. His work can be found in many Indian and international publications.