The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) would be launched at 2.36 pm on November 5 aboard PSLV-C25 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota,Andhra Pradesh,the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said Tuesday. The decision was taken following a meeting of ISRO officials earlier in the day.
The MOM was to originally launch on October 28 but the ISRO deferred it on October 19 after Nalanda,one of the two Shipping Corporation of India ships that will track the PSLV,failed to reach its specified location near the Fiji Islands due to poor weather in the South Pacific Ocean.
The ships-Yamuna and Nalanda-are now positioned in the South Pacific Ocean. The ISRO has set an October 28 to November 19 window for the launch. These are the days when Mars would be closest to earth,an occurrence that will repeat only after 780 days.
NASA is incidentally set to launch its latest Mars orbiter Maven on November 18.
ISRO officials said PSLV-C25 and the spacecraft carrying the 15-kg Mars Orbiter were in good health. The integration of the spacecraft with the launcher PSLV-C25 is completed and the heat shield closure activity is also completed, ISRO director of publicity D P Karnik said.
The preparations now move towards fuelling of the launch vehicle and final checks.
Work done at ISRO centres around the country on the 1,343-kg spacecraft,the workhorse PSLV and five science instruments on the mission converged at Sriharikota on October 3 to bring the Rs 450-crore Mangalyaan Mission into its final stages.
The main objective of the MOM is to demonstrate ISRO capability to carry out interplanetary probes. The mission will see ISRO attempt to get out of the sphere of influence of the earth for the first time. It will take the spacecraft 299 days to reach the Mars orbit.
Twenty-one of 51 Mars missions attempted the world over since 1960 have been successful.