India’s Mars Orbiter Mission

Mangalyaan gets a French Touch

Business & Politics

February 3, 2016

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The Mars Orbiter Mission probe lifted-off from the first launch pad at Andhra Pradesh, using a polar satellite launch vehicle rocket

The Mars Orbiter Mission probe lifted-off from the first launch pad at Andhra Pradesh, using a polar satellite launch vehicle rocket

Mangalyaan, India’s first interplanetary mission satellite, which is orbiting Mars since 2014, will get a French lander.

The Mars Orbiter Mission, also called ‘Mangalyaan’, is a space detector orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on November 5, 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is India’s first interplanetary mission. Mangalyaan is said to have cost less than it took to film the motion picture ‘Gravity’ which was released to theaters around the same time when the Indian space probe was released from Earth. The orbiter has been a 100 pc success after it was injected into the Martian orbit, where it completed around 120 orbits in one year.

Taking the mission a step ahead and building on the momentum of the current hot Indo-French relationship, France has proposed to assist India in providing a lander for Mangalyaan. In an interview with NDTV, Joel Barre, chief of French Space Agency said, “With Mangalyaan already an orbiter, putting a lander on Mars would be an interesting prospect and France is ready to work with India on it.”

With mangalyaan, ISRO became the fourth space agency to reach Mars after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency. It is the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt. The primary objective of the Mars Orbiter Mission is to explore Mars’ surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere.

India and France signed for a forthcoming mission on Mars to explore the Red planet. France has skilled scientists for both Mars and Venus. Considering that a project to dig into Mars exists already, both the countries signed an agreement to collaborate on this project in the future.
“On the next Indian mission to Mars, there will be a piece of French expertise. It is clear that once you put a satellite in the orbit of Mars, the next step is a lander. It is not so easy, but since we are very skilled I am quite optimistic,” said Jean-Yves Le Gall who holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Paris-Sud.

Along with this, the countries also signed a pact to make a thermal imaging satellite especially dedicated for studying the changes in climate. Also, on India’s upcoming OceanSAT satellite, France will put an ARGOS payload, which will be devoted for searching and rescuing beacons using space as a platform.

Undoubtedly the Mars mission enhanced the national image and the future space projects will add to the enrichment.

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