India’s Mars Orbiter has run out of fuel and its battery has discharged beyond a safe limit, fueling speculation that the country’s first interplanetary mission, Mangalyaan, may have finally ended its long run.

The Rs 450 crore Mars orbital mission was launched on board PSLV-C25 on November 5, 2013 and the MOM spacecraft was successfully launched into Mars orbit on September 24, 2014 in the first attempt. “Now there is no fuel left.

The satellite’s battery has run out,” said a source at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). “Link lost.” However, there was no official information from the country’s national space agency.

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With fuel on board, ISRO performed orbital maneuvers on the MOM spacecraft to bring it into a new orbit to avoid the dangers of eclipses in the past.

“But there have been eclipses recently, including one that lasted seven and a half hours,” the officials said on condition of anonymity, noting that all the fuel aboard the aging satellite had run out.

“Since the satellite battery is designed to handle an eclipse lasting about one hour and 40 minutes, a longer eclipse will drain the battery beyond the safe limit,” another official said.

ISRO officials noted that the Mars orbiter has operated for nearly eight years, well beyond its planned six-month lifespan.

“It did its job and produced significant scientific results,” they said.

The mission objectives were primarily technological and included the design, implementation, and launch of a Mars Orbiter spacecraft capable of operating with sufficient autonomy during the voyage phase; Mars orbit extraction/capture and Mars orbit phase.

MOM—the Technology Demonstration Company—carried five science payloads (totaling 15 kg) that collected data on surface geology, morphology, atmospheric processes, surface temperature, and atmospheric outflow.

The five instruments are the Mars Color Camera (MCC), the Thermal Infrared Spectrometer (TIS), the Mars Methane Sensor (MSM), the Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA), and the Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP).

“MOM is credited with many laurels such as cost-effectiveness, short implementation period, economical bulk budget and miniaturization of five heterogeneous scientific payloads,” ISRO officials said.

The highly elliptical geometry of MOM’s orbit allowed the MCC to take images of the “full disk” of Mars at its farthest point and finer details from its closest point.

MCC produced more than 1,000 images and published an atlas of Mars.

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Meanwhile, plans for the next Mangalyaan mission to the red planet, however, have not yet been agreed upon.

ISRO had issued an ‘Announcement of Opportunity’ (AO) for the upcoming Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM-2) in 2016, but officials admitted that it was still in the blueprint stage, with the upcoming ‘Gaganyaan’, ‘Chandrayaan- 3″ and ” Aditya – L1’ projects are on the space agency’s current priority list.

The AO said: “Plans are now underway to conduct a follow-up orbital mission around Mars for a future launch opportunity. Proposals are solicited from interested scientists India for experiments on board the Orbital Mission around Mars (MOM-2), to solve relevant scientific problems and topics”.

“Not in the approved list as of now,” a senior ISRO official told PTI when asked about the MOM-2 upgrade.

“We need to formulate design proposals and payloads based on broader consultation with the research community,” the official said. “It’s still on the drawing board. But additional details and international cooperation are needed to complete the mission.”

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