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India to launch Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5

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Story Dated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:16 hrs EDT

India will launch its first interplanetary probe, Mars orbiter spacecraft, at 2.36pm on November 5 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Isro said on Tuesday.

The launch, which was scheduled on October 28, got postponed because of a delay in one of the ships carrying radars for monitoring the rocket in reaching the south Pacific Ocean.

The Rs 450-crore Mars Orbiter Mission involves a complex set of operations including injection of the spacecraft into an earth orbit, and later, through multiple manoeuvres, hooking it to the Mars orbit, which is more than 400 million km from earth.

The months of October-November present a window of opportunity for the launch as the distance between the planets would be the shortest.

The orbiter would make a 300-day journey through space to reach the Mars orbit.

Indian ships, Nalanda and Yamuna, will be in the South Pacific Ocean, carrying powerful radars to monitor the rocket, since it would be cruising at altitudes not reachable by the ground stations for close to 20 minutes.

Once in outer space, the spacecraft will be monitored by Isro's space tracking facility at Baylalu in Karnataka.

Isro will also take help from Nasa's deep space network in tracking the orbiter.

The orbiter, as it goes around the red planet, will employ a Mars colour camera on board to take pictures of Mars.

An imaging spectrometer will map and study the surface composition and minerals. Other equipment will study the Martian atmosphere.

The mission will also try to photograph Phobos and Deimos, the two satellites of Mars.

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