ISRO said its satellite orbiting Mission (MOM) Mangalyaan will not be affected this year due to long-duration eclipse as it has managed to manoeuvre change its orbit course to reduce non-availability of sun rays and extend the lifespan of the mission.
ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar on Thursday told media, "The duration of the eclipse was so long that had we done nothing, the Mangalyaan’s battery capacity would have got exhausted… On January 17 evening, we manoeuvred to change the orbit of Mangalyaan and reduced the duration of eclipse. The experiment was successful. The spacecraft still has 30 kg fuel left, and with realignment we expect it to work for a very long time to come."
Mr Kumar told reporters in Ahmedabad on the sideslines of the sixth Gujarat Technological University (GTU) convocation, which he attended on Thursday.
On ISRO’s ambitious South Asia satellite project that was promised by PM Narendra Modi on his taking over the office in 2014 is underway the work has begun, he said. The South Asia satellite is expected to be launched in March 2017, he noted.
Recently the journal Geophysical Research Letters mentioned how MOM’s Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) corroborated detection of briny water solutions on the Martian surface, bringing laurels to the mission undertaken by ISRO since 2014.
With the correction in the trajectory of Mangalyaan now, the power supply from Sun will be lost during the eclipse for a shorter duration than last year’s. The MoM will face shadow of Mars falling on it for 7 to 8 hours only this time as Mangalyaan’s battery cannot support long-duration eclipse.
The South Asia satellite will be carried on GSLV Mark II to provide telecommunication and disaster monitoring services to SAARC countries among others. On the ambitious ‘Chandrayaan II’, he said the work has begun and the mission will be launched in the first half of 2018.