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India: ISRO’s Mangalyaan Runs Out Of Fuel After Eight Years

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India’s first expedition to Mars, Mangalyaan, comes to an end after a decade since its launch. It is reported that the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has run out of fuel, and might not be revived.

This is developing doubts about whether the mission is finally over. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which operates the satellite orbiting Mars, has not yet confirmed whether the probe can be regenerated or not.

Sources told the Indian news agency PTI in the ISRO that “right now, there is no fuel left. The satellite battery has drained and the link has been lost.”

PTI quoted an anonymous source stating, “Recently there were back-to-back eclipses, including one that lasted seven and a half hours. As the satellite battery is designed to handle an eclipse duration of only about one hour and 40 minutes, a longer eclipse would drain the battery beyond the safe limit.”

The mission was designed to last six months, but its eight years of operation went over the set limit around the Martian orbit.

Mangalyaan, launched in 2013, was the first Indian interplanetary mission, with ISRO becoming the fourth space agency in the world to launch an expedition beyond Earth’s orbit via PSLV-C25. The mission was demonstrative in nature to prove that India has the ability to design, establish, and operate a mission in a different world.

This mission was one of the most economical interplanetary missions from India, costing just Rs 450 crore.

To examine the Martian surface, its morphology, mineralogy, and the atmosphere, the spacecraft was loaded with five instruments. These five instruments included the Mars Color Camera (MCC), Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA), and Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP).

“MOM is credited with many laurels like cost-effectiveness, a short period of realization, an economical mass budget, and the miniaturization of five heterogeneous science payloads,”  ISRO officials stated.

India has plans to launch another Mars mission, as an Orbiter soon. In 2021, K Sivan, the former ISRO chief, said during his tenure that Mangalyaan-2 would begin only after launching the upcoming Moon mission, Chandrayaan-3. He also said that the Indian space agency has reached out to the scientific community for suggestions regarding possible experiments and is in the process of receiving these.

India’s second mission to Mars is currently in the planning stage.

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