Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mangalyaan - The Mars mission : Some Facts

Some facts on Mars mission

Spacecraft facts:

  • Its main engine generates 440 Newtons of thrust.
  • Launch mass: 1350 kg.
  • It bears a single solar panel, 1.4 by 1.8 meters, producing 750W at Mars. [Note: This doesn't jibe with the single image that I have managed to find of the orbiter, posted below; that one appears to have a three-section panel, with each section possibly 1.4 by 1.8 meters. I can't explain the discrepancy.]
  • For attitude control it has four reaction wheels, eight 22-Newton thrusters.
  • Those are mostly pretty similar to Chandrayaan-1, except for the size of the solar panel. Chandrayaan-1 had a single 2.15-by-1.8-meter panel that generated 750W at the Moon. My guess is that the diagram below is correct and that the Mars spacecraft has a single solar array consisting of three panels 1.4 by 1.8 meters each, which would, together, manage to produce similar power at Mars that the single, larger panel did at the Moon. 
  • Five instruments have been selected, including: 
    • A color camera 
    • A Thermal Infrared Imaging System 
    • A Lyman-alpha photometer 
    • An Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer 
    • A Methane Sensor 
  • The engineering model is complete, and the flight model should be completed in March. 
  • ISRO expects instruments to be delivered in March for integration beginning in April. 
  • Launch to Earth orbit will take place "some time in October." 
  • The spacecraft will depart Earth orbit on November 26 and arrive at Mars on September 22, 2014.

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