ISRO on Sunday denied it is locked in a space war with China and said its Mars Mission was aimed at learning more valuable lessons as a scientific community. “We never raced with anybody. In space, science drives technological development and that will subsequently result in developing an ISRO scores on 100th mission, PSLV rocket launch successful application,” ISRO chief Dr K Radhakrishnan said in reply to a question from a reporter on whether India is locked in a space war with China.
He said the Mars Mission has a relevance and one may understand many problems, including methane (there). “The mission, approved recently by the Cabinet, is a challenge and ISRO is geared to face it,” he said.
Radhakrishnan said the Mars Mission is a time-bound programme which would ensure development of new technology and applications. He said India is one among the top six countries to have a successful space programme.
The satellite would be ready by November 2013 and the conducive period to launch it would be during that time when Mars would come close to Earth, he said. “Challenges include developing new technology, reliable launch vehicle and the objective was to achieve an elliptical orbit of 500 km closest and 80,000 km farthest,” he said.
The mission would involve a voyage of 300 days and there would be a series of operations after the vehicle leaves Earth’s orbit, the ISRO chief said.
“From the lessons learnt in Chandrayaan (lunar) mission, we need to build on-board automation so that the satellite will manage itself in any eventuality,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after the successful launch of two foreign satellites on board PSLV here, a jubilant ISRO chief said more such foreign ventures, including SPOT 7, were in the pipeline.
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle placed in orbit French spacecraft SPOT 6 and Japanese micro satellite PROITERES some 18 minutes after lift-off at 9.53am on Sunday.
The historic mission was described as a “spectacular success” by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who watched the launch sequence at the mission control centre at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 110km from Chennai.