Chennai: Inching closer to the red planet, India's ambitious Mars orbiter spacecraft has covered more than 540 million kilometres, about 80 per cent of its journey for its rendezvous with the planet scheduled for September 24. The spacecraft has covered a distance of more than 540 million kilometres on its helio centric journey to the red planet, ISRO said today.
"Yes, that is very close to a whopping 80 per cent". Mars Orbit Mission and its payloads are in good health", ISRO said on its social networking site. In the last crucial milestone, ISRO performed the second Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre on the spacecraft on June 11 by firing the spacecraft's 22 Newton thrusters for 16 seconds. Mid-course corrections are done to keep the spacecraft on course. Another trajectory correction manoeuvre is planned for August before ISRO performs the Mars Orbit Insertion in September.
The ambitious Mars mission under a Rs 450 crore project was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on November 5 last year with an aim to reach the red planet's atmosphere by September 24. The project is expected to provide the scientific community better opportunities in planetary research.