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India Announces a Mission to Mars

posted Aug 21, 2012, 11:49 AM by M Stoltz   [ updated Aug 21, 2012, 11:50 AM ]
By Ajey Lele, The Space Review, 08.21.12

After sending a spacecraft to the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is now dreaming of Mars. On August 3, 2012, the Indian government gave a
go-ahead for ISRO to launch a Mars orbiter. This mission is expected to be launched in November 2013 and, after an approximately 300-day voyage, would enter Mars’s orbit in September 2014.

The Mars orbiter is a spacecraft with an expected mass of 1,350 kilograms, carrying a 25-kilogram scientific payload, which would be placed in an elliptical orbit of 500 by 80,000 kilometers around Mars. India would use its most reliable launch system, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL), for this mission. In contrast to NASA’s large, complex Curiosity rover, India’s first attempt towards exploring Mars appears to be a simplistic and basic mission, one that appears to be more of a learning platform for future missions, perhaps eventually leading to a human mission to Mars. India definitely understands that any successful human mission to Mars would be an ultimate dream mission for any major spacefaring nation, but appears to be in no big hurry and has not demonstrated any “burning ambition” for a human mission.

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[Image: ISRO]