Science

Mars orbiter engine firing successful

The mission will now go ahead with the nominal plan for Mars Orbit Insertion

The test-firing of the propulsion engine on India's spacecraft to Mars for four seconds on Monday went off smoothly, boosting the hopes of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) engineers about the engine's performance on Wednesday when it will fire for 24 minutes to insert the Mars orbiter into the Red Planet's orbit.

The firing of ISRO's propulsion engine, called 440 Newton engine or Liquid Apogee Motor, on board ISRO's Mars orbiter began at 2.30 p.m. on Monday and there was no hitch at all in its performance. The firing helped to correct the trajectory of the orbiter - the altitude of the spacecraft was brought down by 200 km.

The engine ignited after it had slumbered in space for 300 days during the spacecraft's voyage to the moon. The LAM engine was fired last on December 1, 2013 to catapult India's Mars orbiter from its earth-orbit into sun-centric orbit and its sojourn to Mars began.

K. Radhakrishnan, ISRO Chairman, said, "Everything was fine. Everything has gone well. The trajectory correction manoeuvre of the spacecraft was done."

V. Kesava Raju, Mission Director, Mars Orbiter Mission, ISRO, said, "The test-firing of the engine was smooth and it went as per expectations." He asserted that "the health of the spacecraft was normal in every aspect."

The news about the confirmation of the success of the test-firing was received from the spacecraft after a time-delay of about 13 minutes, Mr. Kesava Raju said.

The test-firing is a rehearsal for the main event on September 24 when the 440 Newton engine will be fired for 24 minutes from 7.17 a.m. Simultaneously, eight small thrusters on board the spacecraft will fire with the main 440 Newton engine to slip India's spacecraft to Mars into a Martian orbit, with a periapsis of 432 km and an apoapsis of 80,000 km.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 11:49:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/mass-orbiter-mission-main-liquid-engine-test-firing-successful/article6435167.ece

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