The first of the six orbit-raisings to generate velocity to ultimately catapult Mangalyaan from the Earth orbit towards Mars on December 1 was successfully carried out at 1.17 am Thursday.
The 440 Newton liquid engine (NLE) of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds by commanding from the spacecraft control centre at the Isro telemetry,tracking and command network at Peenya,Bangalore. This raised the spacecraft to a height or apogee (farthest point to the Earth) of 28,825 km from the 23,550-km apogee it was parked at after launch at 2.38 pm on Tuesday.
All systems aboard the spacecraft are functioning normally. Further orbit-raising maneuvers using the 440 NLE have been planned in the next few days,following which the spacecraft will be put on Mars transfer trajectory on December 1, Isro said.
This enables the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of Mars in September 2014 after a 300-day journey in deep space. At that time,the 440 NLE is fired again to slow down the spacecraft to enable it to be captured by Martian gravity into an orbit around the red planet, the organisation said.
The spacecraft was launched into an elliptical Earth orbit with a perigee (nearest point to the Earth) of 248.4 km and an apogee of 23,550 km,inclined at an angle of 19.27 degrees to the equator,by PSLV-C25. It was the 25th flight of the polar satellite launch vehicle.
The achieved orbit following the launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota was very close to the one intended. Following its separation from the fourth stage of PSLV-C25 about 44 minutes after liftoff,the solar panels and the main dish-shaped antenna were successfully deployed and operations to stabilise the spacecraft carried out.