India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), planned for 6 months and completed 7 years in orbit

Mangalyaan, also known as the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), has completed 7 years in orbit. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully put the Mangalyaan into orbit on September 24, 2014 at the first attempt. The space probe, originally planned for only six months, was ISRO’s first interplanetary mission. On September 24, 2021, MOM completed 7 years in orbit and is expected to have an additional year mission.

“Indeed, a satisfying feeling,” said K Radhakrishnan, who as then chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) led the team of the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), told PTI news agency about the milestone. According to ISRO officials, all mission objectives have already been successfully achieved by the technology demonstration company.

Mangalyaan completed 7 years in Mars orbit

According to ISRO, some of the most important lessons learned from the Mangalyaan were in the areas of design and realization of systems and subsystems, launch for interplanetary missions, placement in the orbit of another planet, operation of the spacecraft and scientific instruments around Mars orbit. MOM’s findings will help India host future interplanetary missions.

As for the lifespan of the spacecraft, ISRO said that Mangalyaan’s health is relatively good considering it was in the seventh year of the mission, which was originally only planned for 6 months. The spacecraft is believed to have an additional year mission duration. M Annadurai, MOM’s program director, said that “the moving parts of the spacecraft are facing some problems and some redundancies that we need to reposition”.

“I don’t think we could have done better than what we did,” said Annadurai. “We have good information on seasonal effects on the Martian atmosphere … surface. The mission also provided meaningful data,” he added.

The program director also revealed that most of Earth’s remote sensing satellites typically had mission durations of seven to nine years, but Mangalyaan had helped India prove that a spacecraft could operate around Mars for such a long period of time. Mangalyaan is said to have completed three Martian years.

“We have seen Mars change from one season to another, from one Martian year to another Martian year,” said ISRO officials.

(With PTI inputs)