New Delhi: India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), the country's first inter-planetary expedition, may remain operational even after March 24, 2015.
Mangalyaan, the Indian first spacecraft to Mars, would complete its six months mission next week.
However, the government said on Wednesday that the spacecraft is expected to live beyond its shelf life of six months, as it attributed a 37-kg reserved propellant to the increased life-span.
“The planned life-span (6 months) of MOM is completing on March 24, 2015. One of the life-limiting parameters of a spacecraft, under nominal orbital conditions, is the availability of propellant to maintain its orbit and orientation.”
“In case of MOM, a reserve of 37 kg of propellant is available in the satellite. Since the health parameters of all critical systems of the satellite are very satisfactory, it is expected that MOM will outlive its planned life-span of 6 months,” Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Department of Space said in a written response to a question in Lok Sabha.
The minister added that the increased duration of observation of Mars by five scientific payloads will enhance the planetary science data and enable coverage of Mars in different seasons.
Singh said MOM, which was inserted in the orbit of Mars on September 24, 2014, is the first mission to use ship-borne terminals to track the launch vehciles and satellite over the Pacific ocean.
On September 24, 2014, India created history in space when its spacecraft, MOM, slipped into the Martian orbit in first attempt.
India became the first Asian country to reach Mars and the first in the world to enter the orbit of the Red Planet in its maiden attempt.
Considered as the world's cheapest inter-planetary mission, Mangalyaan was launched on November 5, 2013 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-25) rocket.
(With Agency Inputs)