The India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) today passed a crucial test. The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) today successfully conducted the test firing of its Main Liquid Engine, which was idle for nearly 300 days, inside the spacecraft.
This crucial Trajectory Correction Manoeuver (TCM) was configured for verifying the performance of the Main Liquid Engine to determine the strategy for Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) on September 24.
Earlier in the Day, Isro said that MOM has entered the Gravitational Sphere Of Influence of Mars.
Today’s event was crucial considering the fact that Isro’s Plan B, in case the test firing had failed, would have been to salvage the mission rather than achieve the original target.
“Plan B is using the small eight 22N thrusters for attitude control or orientation, which will not give you this original target. It will be salvaging of the mission,” Isro Chairman K Radhakrishnan said earlier.
Though the backup plan would Isro get Mangalyaan into orbit, how close it would have been was questionable. Since these thrusters have less power (22 Newton), they would have had to be fired for a much longer duration. In spite of this, the orbit achieved would not have been ideal to carry out studies of the Martian atmosphere and morphology.
At 2.47 pm, Isro has said that test firing successful and we had a perfect burn for four seconds as programmed. The trajectory has been corrected. Mom will now go ahead with the nominal plan for Mars Orbit Insertion.