ISRO has confirmed that the Mars Orbiter is now non-recoverable and the Mangalyaan mission is dead. But what made this tech marvel so special?
On October 3, the Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) broke the hearts of 1.2 billion Indians when it revealed that the Mars Orbiter has lost communication with the ground station and with its current non-recoverable state, the Mangalyaan mission has been brought to an end. The orbiter was in its eighth year (7 years, 6 months, 8 days), which had extended its original mission timeline by seven years. Yet, the death of Mangalyaan has saddened many who were looking forward to celebrating the eighth anniversary of the mission. So, why was the Mangalyaan mission so loved in India? And what milestones and firsts did this tech marvel reach? Read on to find out.
A look back towards the Mangalyaan Mission
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), which is popularly known as Mangalyaan, was launched on November 5, 2013. It was sent aboard a PSLV-C25 rocket (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (Sriharikota Range SHAR), Andhra Pradesh. The craft stayed in the Earth’s orbit for a month and finally moved to Mars’ orbit in September 2014.
The mission was an incredibly important one for India as ISRO had a limited budget for the spacecraft and if the first one failed, it did not have enough to build another one. As a result, a lot of focus was given towards the feasibility of the mission and various studies were conducted.
The primary objective of the mission was to develop the technologies required for designing, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. Secondary objectives included exploring Mars’ surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.
The mission also created multiple milestones, which brought it closer to the hearts of Indians. The Mangalyaan mission was India’s first-ever planetary mission. India also became the first Asian country to conduct such a mission. It also made India the only nation in the world which successfully launched a Mars mission in the first attempt. Finally, this was the least expensive mission to Mars in the world. It highlighted the cost-effectiveness of ISRO.