8:45 am - Saturday October 19, 2019

Mars Orbiter technology can be used for other Indian satellites

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Mars spacecraft crosses sphere of influence of Earth
Mars spacecraft crosses sphere of influence of Earth

By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai – The technologies developed in building India’s Mars Orbiter can be incorporated in other satellites the country would build saving costs and increasing performance, say Indian space scientists.

Speaking to IANS, scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the self corrective programmes incorporated in the orbiter, miniaturisation of components, cold starting of the orbiter engine after a gap of 300 days and other things can be incorporated in remote sensing and communication satellites that are built by India.

“The huge autonomy given to the space craft to fend for itself without human intervention from the ground, miniaturisation of components and other technologies can be incorporated in other satellites that India builds,” A.S. Kiran Kumar, director at ISRO’s Space Application Centre, told IANS.

He said the five payloads of the orbiter together weigh only 15 kg while the spacecraft weighs 1,337 kg and the onboard fuel will be 852 kg.

“This is the first time in the world that anybody has realised a spacecraft like this in 15 months flat. If all the systems we have built works successfully, then we can say that India is one of the top nations in building satellites,” S. Arunan, project director, Mars Oribiter Mission, told IANS.

According to him, the building of the spacecraft is itself a major challenge as there will be a time gap in communication between the ground stations and the satellite.

“We made a new communication system to address this issue,” he said.

In addition, the space craft has been programmed to self diagnose and take corrective actions on its own. Normally people on the ground stations give commands to the satellites on corrective actions.

For a long period, Sun will come between Mars and Earth and there will be total blackout during that time.

“The self diagnostic systems will kept the space craft healthy and on its course,” he said.

According to him, new navigation software has been developed for the orbiter which has been tested.

The other challenge will be the restarting of the oribiter’s engine after 300 days.

“We have done ground tests several times and not once the tests have failed,” he added.

According to him, the other major challenge was the availability of solar power to power the satellite as the solar power available in the Mars range would be one third of what is available on earth.

“The solar cells have to be accordingly designed,” Arunan said.

Queried about the benefits of these technologies, Arunan said: “These can be incorporated in our remote sensing/earth observation and communication satellites.”

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