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Mars Orbiter crosses Moon's orbit

Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft. Photo: ISRO.

CHENNAI (PTI): ISRO's Mars Orbiter spacecraft, which was placed in inter-Mars trajectory in the early hours of Sunday, has crossed Moon's orbit of around 3.85 lakh km and is travelling beyond Earth's natural satellite.

"The Mars Orbiter spacecraft has crossed the Moon orbit's this morning. So technically after crossing Moon's orbit of around 3,85,000 km, it is now travelling beyond the Moon. It has already crossed 5,36,000 km as of 5 pm today," ISRO sources told PTI on Monday.

This is the first time an Indian-made object is being sent into deep space, they said.

ISRO's Mars Orbiter mission had ventured out of Earth's sphere of influence on Sunday, beginning its 300-day journey to the Red planet, marking a major milestone in India's space history.

ISRO performed the trans-Mars injection, a "crucial event" intended to hurl its Mars Orbiter spacecraft into the planned orbit around the sun at around 00.49 hours on Sunday.

It has planned four mid-course corrections in case of any deviation along its path to the Martian orbit before its expected arrival in the orbit of the Red planet in September 2014.

It had performed five orbit-raising manoeuvres on its Mars Orbiter, raising the Apogee (farthest point from Earth) of the spacecraft to over 1.92 lakh km before it performed the "mother of all slingshots."

The spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu.

ISRO's PSLV C 25 injected the 1,350-kg 'Mangalyaan' Orbiter into the orbit around Earth about 44 minutes after launch at 2.38 PM from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on November 5, marking the successful completion of the first stage of the Rs 450-crore mission.


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