As every day Mangalyaan is taking India's pride deeper into space than ever before, ISRO's Mars orbiter Mission is all set for its final journey to touch the Martian atmosphere. According to ISRO, the Mars Orbiter payloads are in good health as the control centre has done the routine check last week. But the mission control is quickly approaching the riskiest moment remaining in the mission: the orbit insertion maneuver.
After streaking through space for ten and a half months, the 1,350 kilogram (2,980 pound) MARS orbiter Mission will fire its 440 Newton liquid fueled main engine to brake into orbit around the Red Planet on September 24, 2014 – where she will study the atmosphere and sniff for signals of methane. ISRO chairman Radhakrishnan said that, " If by chance there was a problem with the engine during the test firing, then Plan B will be implemented for the orbit insertion, which he described as a salvaging exercise. Plan B means firing the eight 22-Newton thrusters". He also added that, "If Plan B has to be implemented then 'it will not be the original mission,' which had been envisaged, though it will mark an end to a period of uncertainty". So far Mangalyaan has traveled a total distance of 650 million km in its heliocentric arc towards Mars, says ISRO. It is currently 189 million km away from Earth and the round trip radio signals communicating with MOM take 20 minutes and 47 seconds.
MOM was entirely designed and developed by the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) at a cost of Rs.450 Crore and marks India’s maiden foray into interplanetary flight. Mangalyaan Rs.450 Crore price tag is way below what NASA, ESA, Japan and China spent on their journey to Mars.The Orbiter was launched on an advanced variant of the rocket, the PSLV-XL — the rocket type that took India to the moon in 2008.